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Virtual Discussion About the Science of Psychedelics

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What do you know about psychedelics? A group from the Public Engagement with Science Graduate Course has partnered with the Mercantile Library to host a discussion of Michael Pollan’s book, How To Change Your Mind. The virtual discussion will take place on May 18th, focusing on the science and history of psychedelics and other mind-altering practices, as told by Michael Pollan in the book.

The first part of the discussion will assess the historical and scientific claims Pollan makes with reference to two scientific papers: one from 1966 detailing an experiment done on the effects of psychedelics on spiritual experiences, the other a 2014 study on the effects of psilocybin on brain states. Which claims are most interesting and why? How can scientific laypeople leverage other scientific sources to fact-check information? And how much responsibility should we feel to do so?

The second part of the discussion will focus on participants’ reactions to the book. Are we convinced by Pollan’s arguments? Do we disagree with anything? Has he motivated us to “change our minds”?

Please join for this fascinating discussion intertwining science, good writing, and psychadelics. The discussion will be virtual via the Zoom platform. This event is free and open to the public (members and non-members of the Mercantile Library alike).

To register click here or email The link to Zoom discussion will be sent via email prior to May 18th.

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