Perceptual Pharmacology

It is clearly established that neurotransmitters (and drugs that target these neurotransmitter systems) have a huge impact on emotion and arousal. In contrast, less is known about the role of neurotransmitters in shaping our sensory experience. To investigate the role of neurotransmitter systems we explore the effect of different psychoactive drugs on perception and cognition in healthy people.

Journal Articles


  • Pitchmaimuthu, K., Wu, Q., Carter, O., Nguyen., B., Ahn, S., Egan., G. & McKendrick, A. (2017) Occipital GABA levels in older adults and their relationship to visual perceptual suppression. Scientific Reports 7: 14231 [URL]
  • Bryson, A., Carter, O., Norman, T. & Kanaan, R. (2017). 5-HT2A Agonists: A Novel Therapy for Functional Neurological Disorders? International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 20(5): 422-27. [PDF]


  • Howe, P. D. L., & Carter, O. L. (2016). Hallucinations and mental imagery demonstrate top-down effects on visual perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39, e248. [PDF]


  • Kometer, M., Cahn, B., Andel, D., Carter, O. & Vollenweider, F. (2011) 5-HT2A/1A agonist psilocybin disrupts modal object completion associated with visual hallucinations. Biological Psychiatry 69(5): 399-406.[PDF]


  • Wittmann, M., Carter, O., Grimberg, U., Hasler, F., Cahn, R., Hell, D., Flohr, H. & Vollenweider, F. X. (2007) Effects of psilocybin on time perception and temporal control of behaviour in humans. J Psychopharmacology 21(1): 50-64. [PDF]
  • Carter, O., Hasler, F., Pettigrew, J.D., Wallis, G., Liu, G. B. & Vollenweider, F. X. (2007) Psilocybin links binocular rivalry switch rate to attention and subjective arousal levels in humans. Psychopharmacology 195: 415-424 [PDF]


  • Carter, O., Burr, D., Pettigrew, J. D., Wallis, G. M., Hasler, F. & Vollenweider, F. X. (2005) Using psilocybin to investigate the relationship between attention, working memory and the Serotonin1A and 2A receptors. J Cog Neuroscience 17(10): 1497-150. [PDF]
  • Carter, O. L., Pettigrew, J. D., Hasler, F., Wallis, G. M., Liu, G. B., Hell, D., & Vollenweider, F. X. (2005). Modulating the rate and rhythmicity of perceptual rivalry alternations with the mixed 5-HT2A and 5-HT1A agonist psilocybin. Neuropsychopharmacology 30(6), 1154–1162. [PDF]


  • Carter, O., Pettigrew, J., Burr, D., Alais, D., Hasler, F. & Vollenweider, F. X. (2004) Psilocybin impairs high-level but not low-level motion perception. Neuroreport 15 (12): 1947-1951.[PDF]