Synthesis Retreat – Leiden University fMRI Study

In collaboration with Synthesis Retreats, our research team is conducting a study with the purpose of uncovering the underlying brain activity and connectivity change after an acute psychedelic experience. We want to explore to what extent the change from baseline connectivity can be linked to lasting therapeutic and cognitive benefits. Moreover, we are interested in how these changes in activity and functional connectivity relate to changes in personality, social decision-making and wellbeing.

To this end, you as a research participant will complete an fMRI scan at the Spinoza Centre in Amsterdam, one day prior and one day following the retreat. Additionally, you will be asked to complete questionnaires twice before and four times following the retreat, as outlined below.

Your main point of contact in the research team is Ane Olen Håland, who will guide you through the process and is available to help with any matters surrounding your participation in the study.

In return for your participation you will receive a display of your individual brain’s resting state functional network connectivity.

Practical Information

Location of Spinoza Center Amsterdam: Meibergdreef 75, 1105 BK Amsterdam

Contact Information: aneolha@gmail.com | +4746916155

The Research Team

Prof. Michiel van Elk

Michiel is working as associate professor at Leiden University where he conducts research on the psychological and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying psychedelics and altered states of consciousness. He has a background in philosophy, cognitive neuroscience and social psychology and combines a multi-method approach in his research. 

Luisa Prochazkova

Luisa is a Ph.D. candidate at the Cognitive Psychology Unit, Leiden University. She is researching how cognitive control affects the interplay between so-called intentional and automatic processes. To this end, she studies the effect of drugs (psychedelic/microdosing), meditation, changes in the autonomic nervous system and reward processing on meta-control policies.

Ane Olen Håland (contact person)

Ane is a masters student of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southern Denmark and a psychologist-trainee at Emma Sofia Klinikk in Oslo.

Throughout your participation in the study, Ane will be your single point of contact with in the research team. See her contact information above.

Huseyin Beykoylu

Huseyin is a Ph.D. student at Leiden University Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Cognitive Psychology unit. His research will explore the neural and behavioural effects of psilocybin on language processing by using neuroimaging, naturalistic and ecologically valid measures, and advanced data analysis methods.

Sebastian Speer

Sebastian is a postdoctoral researcher in social neuroscience in the Social Brain Lab at the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience. His research focuses on moral decision-making. He combine neuroimaging with computational modeling and behavioral experiments to investigate the neurocognitive processes underlying moral conflicts and learning how to solve them.


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