A Taxonomy of Experimental Induction Methods for Altered States of Consciousness and their Potential for Neuroscientific Research
The work of Adolf Dittrich (1985) aimed to identify the different ‘dimensions’ of ASCs, and his five-dimensional rating scale (5D-ASC) to quantify subjective experiences of ASCs allows for reliable comparisons between certain hallucinogen-induced ASCs. Currently, a comprehensive state-based taxonomy encompassing a wide range of pharmacological and non-pharmacological induction methods has yet to be developed. The present work focuses on the creation of an exhaustive taxonomy of IMs for ASCs based on the five etiology-independent dimensions proposed by Dittrich. The resulting taxonomy can be visualized in Venn Diagrams and incorporates IMs that have already been and can be used in future empirical research. Within the Venn Diagrams, IMs are placed according to the dimensions and subdimensions of consciousness they induce. This allows for a clearly discernible visualization of relationships between IMs and their corresponding ASCs.
Authors Nisha Jagannathan, Max Räuker, and Maria Carolina Vargas are students of the master program at the Institute of Cognitive Science in Osnabrück, Germany. Their work on taxonomies for ASC induction methods is part of the research project “Advancing Big Consciousness Data” hosted by the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück. The project aims to construct a database to incorporate previous and future studies on ASCs for joint meta-analysis and to provide accessible visualizations on the existing data.