teaches neurobiology, psychology, and cognitive science at the University of California in Berkeley, and worked for many years in the clinical treatment of addiction at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.
The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe, and the study of its structure and function is one of the most rapidly developing fields in contemporary science. Yet many great mysteries remain, including understanding the brain processes involved in memory, perception, mental illness, and arguably the greatest unanswered question in all of science: How are consciousness and mind related to the physical processes within the brain?
Psychedelics are among the most interesting and poorly understood of all the psychoactive substances. They produce a variety of complex effects on the brain and mind, including intensification of thoughts and feelings, alterations of sensory perception, and loosening of psychological defenses. Because of these complex effects, psychedelics are powerful probes of the connection between brain physiology and consciousness, one of the most deeply mysterious questions in contemporary science.