Abstract.2 05.11.2021

Aidon LyonAttention: Towards a unified account of psychedelics and meditation

In this talk, I’ll present a chapter from my book, Psychedelic Experience. The chapter gives a unified account of psychedelics and meditation in terms of their effects on attention. There are three key ideas to the account: (i) Attention plays an important role in determining the contents and character of our awareness. (ii) Meditation improves our ability to regulate our attentional resources. (iii) Psychedelics free up our attentional resources (but potentially at a cost to our ability to regulate them). Putting these three ideas together, psychedelics and meditation bring about substantial changes to our awareness via their effects on attention. I’ll evaluate the evidence for these three ideas, and show how they can account for the various known effects of meditation and psychedelics, including their synergistic interactions.