Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Wei-Chin Hwang

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For centuries, psychedelic substances have been a part of human culture. Classic psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin are characterized by their agonism of 5HT-2A receptors, and recent clinical trials have found that these substances hold great promise for treating mental disorders. Neurobiological evidence supports the recent theory that psychedelic-assisted therapy works by increasing neuroplasticity and allowing for the revision of maladaptive predictions. This theory is called the REBUS hypothesis, and it is situated within a predictive processing model of cognition. There is evidence that individuals with mental disorders such as depression, addiction, and eating disorders have a diminished ability to update predictions in response to changing sensory input. Thus, psychedelic-assisted therapy is a promising mode of treatment for these conditions. Mental disorders involving mania or psychosis are not characterized by an overreliance on predictions, and case reports suggest that psychedelics may be dangerous for individuals with a personal or family history of these disorders. These ideas point to the larger conclusion that increasing neuroplasticity is important for the healing of many mental health conditions, and this extends to more traditional psychiatric care. Although psychedelic-assisted therapy has thus far shown promising results, limitations such as bias and small, non-representative samples highlight a need for further research in which diversity and accessibility should be a top priority.