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About

Pre ICPR Events

About

Tomáš Páleníček, MD, PhD

National Institute of Mental Health, Czech Republic

Speaker Bio

Since 2001 he has been working at the National Institute of Mental Health (formerly the Psychiatric Centre in Prague), where he started preclinical research on the neurobiology of schizophrenia in pharmacological models of psychosis. He soon shifted his focus to research on the neurobiology of the effects of psychedelics (LSD, psilocin, 2C-B, mescaline, etc.) and entactogens (the drug ecstasy or MDMA) and new synthetic drugs. In parallel with his postgraduate research, he completed his clinical training in psychiatry and acquired functional expertise in electroencephalography (EEG). He defended his doctoral thesis in 2009 and obtained functional specialisation in psychiatry in 2012. Over the last decade, he has led or participated in a number of clinical trials with ketamine, psilocybin, ayahuasca and MDMA, both as principal investigator and as co-investigator. Until recently, he was principal investigator on a number of grants on psychedelics. In 2022 he became the head of the Psychedelics Research Centre at the National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic. His current main research interests are clinical trials with psychedelics, translational research and neuroimaging studies with EEG.

ICPR 2024 Abstract

EEG hyperscanning during an ayahuasca ceremony in the Amazon - a pilot study

The role of the set and setting is one of the key elements that can influence the course of the psychedelic experience. In contrast to an experimental or clinical setting, a typical ritual context is in a group arrangement and accompanied by ritual chants - icaros. In order to understand the role of the setting, our main aim was to study the ayahuasca ritual in Amazonia itself. We have chosen high-density EEG as a tool that will allow us to quantify the dynamics of changes in the brains of participants during the ceremony, and to make synchronised recordings at the same time. Our expedition dates back to 2018, when we first began to engage with the Huni Kui and Ashaninka indigenous peoples. In 2019 and 2023, our expedition visited the Huni Kui ritual at Santa Rosa do Purus in Brazil, and then the Mayantuaycu retreat centre in Peru. We successfully piloted ayahuasca EEG recordings in the jungle during ceremonies, and in 2023 we piloted synchronous recording, called hyperscanning, of seven ceremony participants. Subsequent analysis of the data allows us to monitor the dynamics of changes in interbrain synchrony during the ceremony. Practical experiences from these types of field studies are crucial for conducting controlled studies with ayahuasca or other psychedelics in a ritual context. These studies can provide important insights into understanding the influence of ritual setting and group dynamics during work with psychedelics.

© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
© 2007-2024 ICPR by OPEN Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands