Deep neural networks can perform the processes of mind-altering effects of psychoactive substances.
The most advanced methods of machine learning have been used by scientists to help them better understand the complex processes behind the visual experiences elicited by psychoactive substances such as dimethyltryptamine (DMT), according to Neuroscience of Consciousness.
One of the main groups of psychoactive substances is psychedelic drugs such as the DMT already mentioned, as well as LSD or psychilobicin (the active ingredient in the magic mushroom). Although all that is known is that they selectively affect the function of serotonin receptors in the nervous system, it is not yet entirely clear how altered states of consciousness associated with psychedelic experiences are created.
Michael Schartner, a member and colleague of the International Brain Laboratory at the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Lisbon, Christopher Timmermann, believes that artificial intelligence very similar to humans can help map the neurobiological processes of the most mystical drugs.
According to Schartner, the most interesting ability to function in the brain is the thought experience itself. The inner world assembled in the human brain is formed and constantly updated through the information transmitted by the senses that receive stimuli from the physical world. However, the internal model soon loses all its parallels with reality if it is disrupted by a psychoactive substance that binds to serotonin receptors in the brain, confusing complete neuro-transmitter activity and unleashing their spread. Through the changed perception, the update of the internal model is also modified, creating a very interesting world of experience. This process is being investigated in the new study by researchers administering psychedelic stimuli to deep neural networks.
Because experts have found a striking similarity between the way the human brain and neural networks face recognition, they try to model perturbation through a process of producing so-called deepfake images, which gives them insight into the processes that take place in the human brain.
But the neural connections of consciousness are still far from clear. The ventral system in the human brain is key in processing various aspects of visual information, but it is not sufficient or the exact role of serotonin is unclear. If barriers are overcome, learning about the effects of psychedelic substances can also lead to progress in treating depression or anxiety.
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