Tag Archives: hallucinogens

July 17th BPS/UCL Talk “Visual Illusions, Mescaline and Psychopharmacology: Heinrich Klüver’s Form Constants”

The British Psychological Society‘s History of Psychology Centre, in conjunction with UCL’s Centre for the History of the Psychological Disciplines, has announced the next talk in its summer seminar series. On Monday July 17th Jelena Martinovic will be presenting “Visual Illusions, Mescaline and Psychopharmacology: Heinrich Klüver’s Form Constants.” Full details below.

Monday 17th July

Dr Jelena Martinovic (Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL)

‘Visual Illusions, Mescaline and Psychopharmacology: Heinrich Klüver’s Form Constants’

Mescaline, the chemical compound of peyote, attracted the interest of Western scientists since the late 19th century, among them Heinrich Klu?ver (1897–1967). A German emigre?, Klu?ver introduced gestalt psychology and the pharmacological tradition of experimenting with psychoactive drugs to the United States in the 1920s. Klu?ver became interested in mescaline for its effects on visual perception and claimed that the substance helps to articulate mechanisms of hallucination. In my talk, I will take up Klu?ver’s brain scientific quest to catalogue visual illusions to question the extent to which his work can elucidate the interrelations of psychopharmacology and the human sciences in the first half of the 20th century. More generally, I will explore how the exemplary focus on visuality, which characterises mescaline research in its constituting years, offers a framework to understand the dissemination of expressive forms in fields such as art therapy, psychopathology and creativity research.

Tickets/registration: https://visual illusions.eventbrite.co.uk

Location:
SELCS Common Room (G24)
Foster Court
Malet Place
University College London

Time: 18:00-19:30

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Somatosphere Review: Nicolas Langlitz’s Neuropsychedelia

Head on over to the blog Somatosphere for a review of Nicolas Langlitz’s recent book, Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research Since the Decade of the Brain. The volume is described on the publisher’s website as an examination of

the revival of psychedelic science since the “Decade of the Brain.” After the breakdown of this previously prospering area of psychopharmacology, and in the wake of clashes between counterculture and establishment in the late 1960s, a new generation of hallucinogen researchers used the hype around the neurosciences in the 1990s to bring psychedelics back into the mainstream of science and society. This book is based on anthropological fieldwork and philosophical reflections on life and work in two laboratories that have played key roles in this development: a human lab in Switzerland and an animal lab in California. It sheds light on the central transnational axis of the resurgence connecting American psychedelic culture with the home country of LSD. In the borderland of science and religion, Neuropsychedelia explores the tensions between the use of hallucinogens to model psychoses and to evoke spiritual experiences in laboratory settings. Its protagonists, including the anthropologist himself, struggle to find a place for the mystical under conditions of late-modern materialism.

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