Imperial College London

Dr Peter Hellyer

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Honorary Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 9568peter.hellyer




4.35Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Carhart-Harris, RL and Muthukumaraswamy, S and Roseman, L and Kaelen, M and Droog, W and Murphy, K and Tagliazucchi, E and Schenberg, EE and Nest, T and Orban, C and Leech, R and Williams, LT and Williams, TM and Bolstridge, M and Sessa, B and McGonigle, J and Sereno, MI and Nichols, D and Hellyer, PJ and Hobden, P and Evans, J and Singh, KD and Wise, RG and Curran, HV and Feilding, A and Nutt, DJ},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1518377113},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
pages = {4853--4858},
title = {Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging},
url = {},
volume = {113},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is the prototypical psychedelic drug, but its effects on the human brain have never been studied before with modern neuroimaging. Here, three complementary neuroimaging techniques: arterial spin labeling (ASL), blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) measures, and magnetoencephalography (MEG), implemented during resting state conditions, revealed marked changes in brain activity after LSD that correlated strongly with its characteristic psychological effects. Increased visual cortex cerebral blood flow (CBF), decreased visual cortex alpha power, and a greatly expanded primary visual cortex (V1) functional connectivity profile correlated strongly with ratings of visual hallucinations, implying that intrinsic brain activity exerts greater influence on visual processing in the psychedelic state, thereby defining its hallucinatory quality. LSD’s marked effects on the visual cortex did not significantly correlate with the drug’s other characteristic effects on consciousness, however. Rather, decreased connectivity between the parahippocampus and retrosplenial cortex (RSC) correlated strongly with ratings of “ego-dissolution” and “altered meaning,” implying the importance of this particular circuit for the maintenance of “self” or “ego” and its processing of “meaning.” Strong relationships were also found between the different imaging metrics, enabling firmer inferences to be made about their functional significance. This uniquely comprehensive examination of the LSD state represents an important advance in scientific research with psychedelic drugs at a time of growing interest in their scientific and therapeutic value. The present results contribute important new insights into the characteristic hallucinatory and consciousness-altering properties of psychedelics that inform on how they can model certain pathological states and potentially treat others.
AU - Carhart-Harris,RL
AU - Muthukumaraswamy,S
AU - Roseman,L
AU - Kaelen,M
AU - Droog,W
AU - Murphy,K
AU - Tagliazucchi,E
AU - Schenberg,EE
AU - Nest,T
AU - Orban,C
AU - Leech,R
AU - Williams,LT
AU - Williams,TM
AU - Bolstridge,M
AU - Sessa,B
AU - McGonigle,J
AU - Sereno,MI
AU - Nichols,D
AU - Hellyer,PJ
AU - Hobden,P
AU - Evans,J
AU - Singh,KD
AU - Wise,RG
AU - Curran,HV
AU - Feilding,A
AU - Nutt,DJ
DO - 10.1073/pnas.1518377113
EP - 4858
PY - 2016///
SN - 1091-6490
SP - 4853
TI - Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging
T2 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
UR -
UR -
VL - 113
ER -