Linking Ayahuasca, Mental Imagery, and Internal Attention with Functional Neuroimaging

Dráulio Barros de Araujo, PhD

Abstract: The hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca, a rich source of serotonergic agonists and reuptake inhibitors, has been used for ages by Amazonian populations during religious ceremonies. Among all perceptual changes induced by ayahuasca, the ones regarding the visual system and internal attention are remarkable. This presentation will present results from studies conducted by our group, which used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to better understand some neurophysiological aspects of these two perceptual changes induced by ayahuasca.

Dráulio Barros de Araujo, PhD, received his doctorate in Physics Applied to Medicine and Biology from the University of São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto in 2002, where he engaged in post-doctoral studies on Functional Neuroimaging, became Assistant Professor, and then received the title of livre-docente (Associate). In 2009, he joined the Brain Institute at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), where he is currently Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience and Full Professor of Neuroimaging. His research deals with several aspects of neuroscience, using the methods of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and electroencephalography (EEG). In the last few years, Dr. Araujo has focused on the investigation of the cognitive and neural substrates of the ayahuasca experience.

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