Altered States of the Human Mind: Implications for Anthropogeny

Event Date (Pacific Time): 
Saturday, Mar 13, 2021 - 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Event Chairs:

Patricia Churchland, University of California, San Diego
Jean-Pierre Changeux, Collège de France & Institut Pasteur

Live Symposium Webcast:

Access to the live webcast for this symposium will be provided here on Saturday, March 13 starting at 12:00 PM (Pacific Time).

There will be two ways to watch on the day of the event:

  1. using Zoom by visiting
  2. visiting this page and clicking on the video player link that will appear above under "Live Symposium Webcast" on event day

This is an online-only event. Talks will be recorded and posted on this page. Please check this event page, as well as CARTA’s Facebook (@ucsdcarta) and Twitter (@CARTAUCSD) accounts for updates.

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An earlier CARTA Symposium addressed naturally occurring extraordinary variations of the human mind, and the lessons for Anthropogeny. In this companion symposium, experts will address altered states of the mind that are deliberately induced by humans. We will address what is known about origins and mechanisms of these mind-altering practices, and also (when known) how they affect the minds of other species. In doing so, we hope to gain new insights into the origins and workings of the human mind.

REGISTRATION FOR LIVE, ONLINE EVENT: As always, this online-only event is FREE and open to the public, however, please register to express your interest. To register, go to the bottom of this event page.

LIVE WEBCAST: This is an online-only event. Pre-recorded talks will stream beginning at 12:00 PM (Pacific), followed by a live-streamed Q&A where our speakers will answer audience questions beginning around 3:30 PM (Pacific). The Q&A will be also be recorded and posted along with the talks on the event page for viewing soon after the symposium has concluded.

PARTICIPATION: Questions for our speakers may be submitted prior to or during the event by emailing We hope to answer as many of these questions as possible during the event, but may extend our Q&A to another date and format if there is overflow!

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: You can STILL take a more active part in CARTA and help us ensure the sustainability and accessibility of these symposia. Please email for sponsorship opportunities, which have been modified due to the virtual format. We hope you will partner with us in our exploration of the origin of humans and the implications for the past, present, and future of our species!

Event Sessions

Session Speakers
Psychedelics Frederick Barrett, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Cognitive Enhancement (Nicotine, Caffeine, Cocaine, Amphetamine) and General Anesthesia Jean-Pierre Changeux, Collège de France & Institut Pasteur
Imagination and Embodiment in Practices of Sacred Sonorous Being Thomas Csordas, University of California, San Diego
Alcohol Metabolism and Alcoholism Kenneth Kidd, Yale School of Medicine
Addiction and Loss of Control: Hyperkatifeia, Negative Reinforcement and the Dark Side of Addiction George Koob, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; National Institute on Drug Abuse
The Neural Underpinnings of Mindfulness Read Montague, Virginia Tech
Peripartum Depression Barbara Parry, University of California, San Diego
Altered States in Human Rituals Ann Taves, University of California, Santa Barbara
Intersectional Neuroscience: Meditation and Diversity Helen Weng, University of California, San Francisco

Registration Deadline: Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 5:00 PM

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Please email with any questions.