Playing the Skeptic: The Neuroscience and Psychology of the Alien Abduction Phenomenon

Lecture with

Dr. Pascal Michael

Sunday, June 2, 2024
Location: Atlantis Room

This lecture is meant as an entertaining of a more ‘skeptical’ stance to the phenomenon, purely with the intention of constituting a review of the available neurobiological and psychological literature which some authors assert provides an exhaustive explication. However, importantly, this will also be novelly paralleled with relevant neuroscientific and psychological studies pertaining to the near-death experience (NDE), and with neuroscientific studies of the psychedelic experience (which may, conflictingly, evoke a suggestion of a more spiritual dimension). The need for such a comprehensive review emanates largely from the ever-increasing legitimization in recent years of the discourse on “UAPs” (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena), not least since the watershed moment of the US government admitting their existence in mainstream 2017 press releases, which could challenge this reductive framing. A diverse array of neural theories will be surveyed, encompassing those with recourse to psychedelics, sleep paralysis, REM, brain regions, predictive processing and neurophenomenological comparisons with psychedelics and near-death experiences (NDEs) – as well as psychological models, such as those entailing cultural transmission, personality traits, trauma, memory and psychological comparisons with NDEs. However, this talk will be punctuated throughout with numerable apparent shortfalls of this rigidly biopsychosocial account. This talk is also deliberately contrasted with another workshop by the same speaker, in which a wholly antithetical account will be given that embraces the possibility of a non-material nature to these phenomena, or is even poised to undermine such a duality altogether.


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