How do psychedelics alter perception?


Psychedelics, such as psilocybin, profoundly alter perception through a phenomenon known as 'perceptual blending' or synesthesia. This involves the merging of different senses that are not typically merged. For instance, individuals might see geometric shapes and colors that change intensity based on the music they are listening to, or even control the music by their breathing patterns, despite not actually controlling it. This blending also extends to other sensory experiences, such as touching objects and perceiving shifts in sound frequency. Overall, this creates a unique and multisensory experience where one’s perceptions and emotions blend in unusual and extraordinary ways 1.

Additionally, psychedelics affect the brain's functionality to the extent that they can alter the way reality is perceived, by diluting the rigidity of space and time and blending senses like seeing sounds or feeling colors. These effects can lead to long-term relief from conditions such as depression by providing people with new perspectives on old problems, enhancing creativity, and potentially leading to enduring changes in their overall outlook and mental health 2.

Psychedelic Perception

Andrew explains the subjective experiences people have on psychedelics, including perceptual blending and synesthesia. He also discusses how psilocybin activates the serotonin two A receptor, allowing for these experiences to occur.

Huberman Lab

How Psilocybin Can Rewire Our Brain, Its Therapeutic Benefits & Its Risks | Huberman Lab Podcast