Cognitive alterations can be defined as any cognitive effect which alters and distorts the behavior of a pre-existing mental function.
This page lists and describes the various cognitive distortions which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.
- 1 Cognitive dysphoria
- 2 Cognitive euphoria
- 3 Conceptual thinking
- 4 Enhancement and suppression cycles
- 5 Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness
- 6 Multiple thought streams
- 7 Simultaneous emotions
- 8 Spatial disorientation
- 9 Autonomous voice communication
- 10 Analysis
- 11 Thought loops
- 12 Time distortion
- 13 See also
- 14 References
Dysphoria (semantically the opposite of euphoria) is medically recognized as a cognitive and emotional state in which a person experiences intense feelings of discomfort and unhappiness. It is often accompanied by strong feelings of anxiety and depression. These feelings can vary in their intensity depending on the dosage consumed and the users susceptibility to mental instability. Although dysphoria is an effect, the term is also used colloquially to define an intense state of general melancholic unhappiness combined with an overwhelming sense of discomfort and malaise.
In the context of psychoactive substance usage, many compounds induce states of dysphoria regardless of the person's previous emotional state. It is most commonly induced under the influence of common dosages of deliriants or during the after effects of almost any stimulant compound.
Cognitive euphoria (semantically the opposite of cognitive dysphoria) is medically recognized as a cognitive and emotional state in which a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement, and joy. Although euphoria is an effect, the term is also used colloquially to define a state of transcendent happiness combined with an intense sense of contentment. It has also been defined as an "affective state of exaggerated well-being or elation."
In the context of psychoactive substance usage, many compounds induce states of euphoria regardless of the person's previous emotional state. It is most commonly induced under the influence of opioids, entactogens, stimulants, and GABAergics. However, it can also be induced in a less consistent fashion under the influence of hallucinogenics compounds such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids
Conceptual thinking can be described as an alteration to the nature and content of one's internal thought stream. This alteration predisposes a user to think thoughts which are no longer primarily comprised of words and linear sentence structures. Instead, thoughts become equally comprised of what feels to be extremely detailed renditions of the innately understandable and internally stored concepts which words exist to label. Essentially, thoughts cease to be spoken by an internal narrator, and are instead “felt” and intuitively understood.
For example, if one were to think of an idea such as a "chair" during this state, one would not so much hear the word as part of an internal thought stream, but would feel the internally stored, pre-linguistic and innately understandable data which comprises the specific concept labelled within one's memory as a "chair". These conceptual thoughts are felt in a comprehensive level of detail that feels as if it is unparalleled within the primarily linguistic thought structure of everyday life. This is occassionally interpreted by those who undergo it as some sort of a "higher level of understanding".
During this experience, conceptual thinking can cause one to feel not just the entirety of a concept's attributed data, but also how a given concept relates with and depends upon other known concepts. This can result in the perception that one can better comprehend the complex interplay between an idea one is contemplating and how it relates to other ideas.
Conceptual thinking often coincides with personal bias suppression and analysis enhancement. It is a very common effect under the influence of common to heavy dosages of hallucinogens such as psychedelics and dissociatives. However, other compounds such as entactogens and cannnabinoids can inconsistently induce this effect under the influence of heavy dosages.
Enhancement and suppression cycles
Enhancement and suppression cycles can be described as an effect which results in two opposite states of mind that do not occur simultaneously but instead swap between each other at seemingly random intervals. These intervals are generally 10 - 30 minutes in length but can occasionally be considerably shorter.
The first of these two alternate states can be described as the experience of a range of cognitive suppressions which drastically inhibit one's ability to think clearly. These typically include specific effects such as thought deceleration, thought disorganization, creativity suppression, language suppression, and analysis suppression.
The second of these two alternate states can be described as the experience of cognitive enhancements which drastically improve one's ability to think clearly. This includes analysis enhancement, thought organization, thought acceleration, creativity enhancement, and thought connectivity.
Enhancement and suppression cycles is a relatively uncommon effect which primarily occurs under the influence of common to heavy dosages of tryptamine psychedelics. These commonly include, 4-aco-dmt, ayahuasca, and psilocin.
Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness
Perceived exposure to inner mechanics of consciousness can be described as a transpersonal experience in which one feels as if they are being exposed to an array of complex cognitive sensations which contain detailed sets of innately readable, otherwise inaccessible information. This information manifests itself in such a way that it is felt to convey the organization, structure, architecture, framework and inner mechanics of the underlying programming behind all conscious and subconscious psychological processes and their neural substrates. This effect is most commonly interpreted by those who undergo the experience as suddenly having perceivable access to the inner workings of either the universe, reality, or consciousness itself.
The experience of this component is one that appears to uplink specific pieces of information onto the one in this transpersonal state (hallucinogen-induced or not) regarding the nature of reality and human consciousness through the simple experience of themselves as an undifferentiated sentience. Examples of these are difficult to fully define but common sensations, revelations, and concepts are manifested. These generally include:
- Insight into the processes behind the direction, latency, and tendencies of one's conscious thought stream.
- Insight into the processes behind the organization, structure, and content of one's immediate, short and long-term memory feedback loops.
- Insight into the selection and behavior of one's responses to external input and decision-making processes as based upon their individually conditioned personality.
These specific pieces of information are often felt and described to be a profound unveiling of a reality-transforming truth at the time but are afterward usually realized to be ineffable due to the limitations of human language or simply incommunicable nonsense due to the disorientation induced by the overwhelming tide of other cognitive effects that typically accompany this effect.
A vastly more complex and detailed account of this effect is manifested during the experience of Level 8B Geometry.
Multiple thought streams
Multiple thought streams can be described as a state of mind in which a person has more than one internal narrative or stream of consciousness simultaneously occurring within their mind. This can result in any number of independent thought streams occurring at the same time, each of which are often controllable in a similar manner to that of one's everyday thought stream.
These multiple coinciding thought streams can be experienced simultaneously in a manner which is evenly distributed and does not prioritize the awareness of any particular thought stream over an other. However, they can also be experienced in a manner which feels as if it brings awareness of a particular thought stream to the foreground while the others continue processing information in the background. This form of multiple thought streams typically swaps between specific trains of thought at seemingly random intervals.
The experience of this effect can sometimes allow one to analyse many different ideas simultaneously and can be a source of great insight. However, it will usually overwhelm the person with an abundance of information that becomes difficult or impossible to fully process at a normal speed.
Multiple thought streams often coincides with memory suppression, thought acceleration and especially thought disorganization. It is a relatively uncommon effect that seems to exclusively occur under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelics such as LSD, 4-AcO-DMT and 2C-P.
Simultaneous emotions can be described as the experience of feeling multiple emotions simultaneously without an obvious external trigger. For example, during this state a user may suddenly feel intense conflicting emotions such as simultaneous happiness, sadness, love, hate, etc. This can result in states of mind in which the user can potentially feel any number of conflicting emotions in any possible combination.
Simultaneous emotions often coincide with memory suppression and emotion enhancement. It is a relatively uncommon effect that seems to occur under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelics such as LSD and 4-AcO-DMT.
Spatial disorientation can be described as the inability to intuitively feel one's orientation in 3-dimensional space. In this state, one may have trouble distinguishing up from down, right from left, or any two different directions from another. One might also perceive the world or their own body as being flipped sideways or upside down.
Spatial disorientation will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as changes in felt gravity and dizziness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of dissociative compounds such as ketamine, MXE and DCK, particularly when experiencing holes, spaces and voids.
Autonomous voice communication
Autonomous voice communication can be described as the experience of being able to hear and converse with a disembodied and audible voice of unknown origin which seemingly resides within one's own head. This voice is often capable of high levels of complex and detailed speech which are typically on par with the intelligence and vocabulary of ones own conversational abilities.
As a whole, the effect itself can be broken down into 5 distinct levels of progressive intensity, each of which are listed and described below:
- A sensed presence of the other - This level can be defined as the distinctive feeling that another form of consciousness is internally present alongside that of one's usual sense of self. This sensation is often referred to within the scientific literature as a "sense of presence".
- Mutually generated internal responses - This level can be defined as internally felt conversational responses to one's own thoughts and feelings which feel as if they are partially generated by one's own thought stream and in equal measure by that of a separate thought stream.
- Separately generated internal responses - This level can be defined as internally felt conversational responses to one's own thoughts and feelings which feel as if they are generated by an entirely distinct and separate thought stream that resides within one's head.
- Separately generated audible internal responses - This level can be defined as internally heard conversational responses to one's own thoughts and feelings which are perceived as a clearly defined and audible voice within one's head. These can take on a variety of voices, accents and dialects, but usually sound identical to one's own spoken voice.
- Separately generated audible external responses - This level can be defined as externally heard conversational responses to one's own thoughts and feelings which are perceived as a clearly defined and audible voice which sounds as if it is coming from outside one's own head. These can take on a variety of voices, accents and dialects, but usually sound identical to one's own spoken voice.
The speaker behind this voice is commonly interpreted by those who it to be the voice of one's own subconscious, the psychoactive substance itself, a specific autonomous entity, or even supernatural concepts such as god, spirits, souls and ancestors.
At higher levels, the conversational style of that which is discussed between both the voice and its host can be described as essentially identical in terms of its coherency and linguistic intelligibility as that of any other everyday interaction between the self and another human being with which one might engage in conversation with.
However, there are some subtle but identifiable differences between this experience and that of normal everyday conversations. These stem from the fact that one's specific set of knowledge, memories and experiences are identical to that of the voice which is being communicated with. This results in conversations in which both participants often share an identical vocabulary down to the very use of their colloquial slang and subtle mannerisms. As a result of this, no matter how in depth and detailed the discussion becomes, no entirely new information is ever exchanged between the two communicators. Instead, the discussion focuses primarily on building upon old ideas and discussing new opinions or perspectives regarding the previously established content of one's life.
Autonomous voice communication will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as delusions, autonomous entities, auditory hallucinations, psychosis in a manner which may lead one into believing the voices statements unquestionably in a delusional manner. It is most commonly induced under the influence of of heavy dosages hallucinogenic compounds such as psychedelics and deliriants. However, it may also occur during the offset of prolonged stimulant binges and less consistently under the influence of heavy dosages of cannabinoids.
The experience of communicating with hallucinated voices has been well established with and without the use of hallucinogenic drugs through scientific study. For example, one study successfully demonstrated that anybody can encounter a dialogue between themselves and a voice of unknown origin under the influence of psilocybin mushrooms. This study interviewed 128 participants with an approximate total of 3,427 psilocybin mushroom experiences between them and revealed that 35.9% (46) of the participants reported voices whilst 64% (82) did not.
Even outside of these drug-induced experiences, hearing voices within one's head is a well documented psychological phenomena and can in and of itself, generally be considered as a relatively harmless state of mind to find oneself in.
Thought loops can be described as the experience of becoming trapped within a chain of thoughts, actions and emotions which repeat themselves over and over again in a cyclic loop. These loops can range from anywhere between 5 seconds and 2 minutes in length. It can be extremely disorientating to undergo this effect and it often triggers states of progressive anxiety within people who may be unfamiliar with the experience. The most effective way to end a cycle of thought loops is to simply sit down and try to let go.
This state of mind is most likely to occur during states of memory suppression in which there is a partial or complete failure of one's short-term memory. This may suggest that thought loops are the result of cognitive processes becoming unable to sustain themselves for appropriate lengths of time due to a lapse in short-term memory, resulting in the thought process attempting to restart from the beginning only to fall short once again in a perpetual cycle.
Thought loops are a common effect which primarily occurs under the influence of strong to heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds. These commonly include, psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants and cannabinoids. However, this effect can also occur less consistently under the influence extremely heavy dosages of stimulants and benzodiazepines
Time distortion is an effect that makes the passage of time feel difficult to keep track of and wildly distorted. It is usually felt in two different forms, time expansion and time compression. These two forms are described and documented below:
Time dilation can be described as the feeling that time has slowed down. This commonly occurs during intense hallucinogenic experiences and seems to at least partially stem from the fact that during an intense trip, abnormally large amounts of experience are felt in very short periods of time. This can create the illusion that more time has passed than actually has. For example, at the end of certain experiences one may feel that they have subjectively undergone days, weeks, months, years or even infinite periods of time.
Studies have demonstrated that psilocin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, significantly impairs subjects' ability to gauge time intervals longer than 2.5 seconds, impairs their ability to synchronize to inter-beat intervals longer than 2 seconds, and reduces their "preferred" tapping rate. These results are consistent with the drug's role in affecting prefrontal cortex activity, and the role that the prefrontal cortex is known to play in time perception.
Time dilation will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as delusions, thought loops, novelty enhancement, and internal hallucinations in a manner which may lead one into percieving a disproportionately large number of events considering the amount of time that has actually passed in the real world. It is most commonly induced under the influence of of heavy dosages hallucinogenic compounds such as psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants, and cannabinoids.
Time compression can be described as the experience of time speeding up and passing much quicker than it usually would while sober. For example, during this state one may realize that an entire evening has passed them by in what feels only a couple of hours.
This commonly occurs under the influence of stimulating compounds and seems to at least partially stem from the fact that during an intense levels of stimulation, people typically become hyper focused on activities and tasks in a manner which can allow time to pass them by without realizing it. However, the same experience can also occur on depressant compounds which induce amnesia. This occurs due to the way in which a person can literally forget everything that has happened while still experiencing the effects of the substance, thus giving the impression that they have suddenly jumped forward in time.
Time compression will often synergize with other coinciding effects such as memory suppression, focus enhancement, stimulation, and amnesia in a manner which may lead one into perceiving a disproportionately small number of events considering the amount of time that has actually passed in the real world. It is most commonly induced under the influence of of heavy dosages of stimulating or amnesic compounds such as amphetamines, benzodiazepines, entactogens, and GABAergics.
- Medical dictionary Dysphoria - http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/dysphoria
- Key DSM-IV Mental Status Exam Phrases - http://bipolar.about.com/cs/faqs/f/faq_dysphoria.htm
- Rightdiagnosis Euphoria - http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/sym/euphoria.htm
- Key DSM-IV Mental Status Exam Phrases - https://www.gatewaypsychiatric.com/key-dsm-iv-mental-status-exam-phrases
- A Dictionary of Psychology in Politics & Social Sciences) Oxford | http://www.oxfordreference.com/search?q=euphoria&searchBtn=Search&isQuickSearch=true
- The sensed presence effect (scientific american) | https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-sensed-presence-effect/
- Green and McCreery, Apparitions, op.cit., p.118.
- Feeling of presence in Parkinson's disease (ncbi.gov) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3382202/
- Experiences of continued presence: On the practical consequences of ‘hallucinations’ in bereavement. | http://www.leudar.com/pdfs/voices/Hayes&Leudar2013.pdf
- Listening for the Logos: a study of reports of audible voices at high doses of psilocybin | http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v07n1/07112bea.html
- In Your Head: Hearing Voices | http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200701/in-your-head-hearing-voices
- Effects of varied doses of psilocybin on time interval reproduction in human subjects (sciencedirect.com) | http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394008001791
- Chem Lab: Shrooms Make Time Feel Slower | https://www.wired.com/2008/02/chem-lab-shroom/