Neural correlates of the DMT experience as assessed via multivariate EEG

C. Timmermann, L. Roseman, M. Schartner, R. Milliere, Luke Williams, D. Erritzoe, S. Muthukumaraswamy, Michael Ashton, A. Bendrioua, O. Kaur, S. Turton, Matthew M. Nour, Camilla M. Day, R. Leech, David Nutt, R. Carhart-Harris

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Studying transitions in and out of the altered state of consciousness caused by intravenous (IV) N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT - a fast-acting tryptamine psychedelic) offers a safe and powerful means of advancing knowledge on the neurobiology of conscious states. Here we sought to investigate the effects of IV DMT on the power spectrum and signal diversity of human brain activity (6 female, 7 male) recorded via multivariate EEG, and plot relationships between subjective experience, brain activity and drug plasma concentrations across time. Compared with placebo, DMT markedly reduced oscillatory power in the alpha and beta bands and robustly increased spontaneous signal diversity. Time-referenced and neurophenomenological analyses revealed close relationships between changes in various aspects of subjective experience and changes in brain activity. Importantly, the emergence of oscillatory activity within the delta and theta frequency bands was found to correlate with the peak of the experience - particularly its eyes-closed visual component. These findings highlight marked changes in oscillatory activity and signal diversity with DMT that parallel broad and specific components of the subjective experience, thus advancing our understanding of the neurobiological underpinnings of immersive states of consciousness.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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