Thomas Anderson

Thomas Anderson
University of Toronto | U of T · Department of Psychology

PhD Candidate, Cognitive Neuroscience

About

39
Publications
40,936
Reads
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307
Citations
Introduction
Find me on the OSF at https://osf.io/98meg/ You know that moment when you notice that your mind was wandering? Maybe you're reading a book and notice that you've been scanning the page with your eyes but not actually reading? In my doctoral studies I'm working on figuring out what the brain does that makes you notice. More precisely, I am working on understanding "meta-awareness" and the cognitive neuroscience of how we notice when we are not paying attention. I also have a program of research on meditation and another on microdosing psychedelics. Check out my projects or send me a message and connect.
Additional affiliations
September 2016 - November 2020
University of Toronto
Position
  • PhD Student
May 2013 - July 2013
University of Waterloo
Position
  • Software Engineer
December 2012 - August 2013
University of Waterloo
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
September 2016 - August 2020
University of Toronto
Field of study
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
September 2015 - August 2016
University of Toronto
Field of study
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
September 2006 - October 2012
University of Waterloo
Field of study
  • Honours Psychology with Computer Science minor

Publications

Publications (39)
Article
Full-text available
Rationale Microdosing psychedelics—the regular consumption of small amounts of psychedelic substances such as LSD or psilocybin—is a growing trend in popular culture. Recent studies on full-dose psychedelic psychotherapy reveal promising benefits for mental well-being, especially for depression and end-of-life anxiety. While full-dose therapies inc...
Article
Full-text available
Read the full-text here: https://rdcu.be/bgUo4 Meditation has become a cultural phenomenon, and modern scientific research on the topic has exploded. Thousands of scientific articles report various benefits of meditation including clinical, physiological and well-being outcomes. Despite these benefits, drop-out rates in mindfulness-based interven...
Article
How can we measure the absence of awareness? Attention research has developed tools for measuring self-caught meta-awareness restoration and behavioral mind-wandering, but we lack a way to dynamically track the loss of meta-awareness. The present pre-registered study sought to bring together three extant paradigms into one tool designed to dynamica...
Preprint
Full-text available
What is wisdom? How can we measure wisdom in a questionnaire? Ongoing debate about definitions and best practices are central to the wisdom literature. With different theoretical orientations come different measurement tools; one measure differentiates itself as a theory-independent, empirically constructed scale: The Brief Wisdom Screening Scale (...
Article
NOTE: This paper is open-access. You can access the full-text at the journal's website for free. The use of psychedelic substances in both humanistic and mainstream clinical research has been increasing in the last decade. In particular, the practice of microdosing—ingesting sub-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelics—has been increasing in populari...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Microdosing psychedelics is the practice of taking small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of lysergic acid diethylamide or psilocybin containing mushrooms. Despite its surging popularity, little is known about the specific intentions to start microdosing and the effects of this practice. Aims: First, we aimed to replicate previous findings re...
Article
Science requires replicable tools to measure its intended constructs. Attention research has developed tools that have been used in mind-wandering research, but mind-wandering measures often rely on response-inhibition, which introduces speed-accuracy trade-offs that may conflate errors for mind-wandering. We sought to replicate three studies that...
Article
Full-text available
Psychedelics have a checkered past, alternately venerated as sacred medicines and vilified as narcotics with no medicinal or research value. After decades of international prohibition, a growing dissatisfaction with conventional mental health care and the pioneering work of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Science (MAPS) and others...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: The use of psychedelic substances like LSD and magic mushrooms in research and to treat mental health conditions has been increasing in the last decade. In particular, the practice of microdosing – using sub-hallucinogenic amounts of psychedelics – has been increasing (Anderson et al., 2019), but large-scale systemic qualitative analyse...
Preprint
Full-text available
Psychedelics have a checkered past, alternately venerated as sacred medicines and vilified as narcotics with no medicinal or research value. After decades of international prohibition, a growing dissatisfaction with conventional mental health care and the pioneering work of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Science (MAPS) and others...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Microdosing psychedelics – the practice of taking small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of substances like LSD or psilocybin-containing mushrooms – is becoming increasingly popular. Despite its surging popularity, little is known about the effects of this practice. Aims: This research had three main aims. First, we attempted to replicate prev...
Article
Rationale Microdosing psychedelics – the practice of consuming small, sub-hallucinogenic doses of substances such as LSD or psilocybin – is gaining attention in popular media but remains poorly characterized. Contemporary studies of psychedelic microdosing have yet to report the basic psychiatric descriptors of psychedelic microdosers. Objectives...
Preprint
Full-text available
How can we measure the absence of awareness? Attention research has developed tools for measuring self-caught meta-awareness restoration and behavioural mind-wandering, but we lack a way to dynamically track the loss of meta-awareness. The present pre-registered study sought to bring together three extant paradigms into one tool designed to dynamic...
Poster
Full-text available
Empirically identified benefits and challenges of LSD and psilocybin microdosing Background: Psychedelic microdosing is the practice of consuming low, sub-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelic substances, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or psilocybin-containing mushrooms. Doses are typically 1/10th of a regular recreational dose. The scient...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Microdosing psychedelics is the practice of consuming very low, sub-hallucinogenic doses of a psychedelic substance, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or psilocybin-containing mushrooms. According to media reports, microdosing has grown in popularity, yet the scientific literature contains minimal research on this practice. There...
Article
Full-text available
Many people are starting to establish contemplative practices and Mindfulness-Based Interventions have become quite popular. While Mindfulness-Based Interventions positively impact well-being, drop-out and lack of practice-maintenance plagues these interventions. Such adherence issues may reveal a lack of fit between participant partiality for atte...
Preprint
Full-text available
Microdosing psychedelics - the regular consumption of small amounts of psychedelic substances such as LSD or psilocybin - is a growing trend in popular culture. Recent studies on full-dose psychedelic psychotherapy reveal promising benefits for mental well-being, especially for depression and end-of-life anxiety. While full-dose therapies include p...
Presentation
Full-text available
Thomas Anderson is a PhD student at the University of Toronto under Norman Farb in the Regulatory and Affective Dynamics laboratory (www.radlab.zone). Thomas' main work focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of "meta-awareness" ("decentering" in the clinical literature), which is an experience of insightful internal noticing, for example, when notic...
Poster
Full-text available
Meta-awareness (MA) is the process of attending to and appraising the contents of consciousness. MA is critical for certain higher-order attentional resources, but a research gap exists in how to practically detect MA in time-sensitive contexts. Validation of continuous MA measurements would allow us to better understand its temporal dynamics. We w...
Presentation
Full-text available
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Microdosing Psychedelics Microdosing psychedelics is the practice of taking very low doses of psychedelic substances (e.g. LSD, psilocybin). Psychedelic microdosing has recently been featured in numerous popular-media reports yet no scientific studies have been published on this topic. At present only anecdotes regard...
Poster
Full-text available
Studies have demonstrated various benefits of meditation, including sleep and health improvements and positive effects on mood. However, many people stop meditating, and up to 30% drop out of mindfulness based interventions like MBSR. What makes people move away from meditation? This research attempts to find some answers in determining the benefit...
Poster
Full-text available
Microdosing psychedelics has become a recent media phenomenon. Microdosing is the practice of taking sub-threshold doses of a substance, in this case, a psychedelic substance such as LSD or psilocybin. No scientific research has been published on the effects of microdosing psychedelics thus we ran a cross-sectional observational study on the microd...
Presentation
Full-text available
The Salon: Bringing Intellectual Conversation into the Living Room A Salon brings together diverse individuals to refine and amuse through conversation about a particular topic. The Salons of 17th and 18th century revolutionary France played an integral role in the country's cultural development, the dissemination of "Enlightenment" and intellectua...
Presentation
Full-text available
A Perliminary Study of Microdosing Psychedelics Microdosing psychedelics, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin, has become a recent media phenomenon, yet scientific studies verifying its effects are absent from the literature. To begin addressing these gaps in knowledge, we measured the microdosing drug practices and psychologic...
Preprint
Many new people are engaging contemplative practices and Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) have become quite popular. While MBIs positively impact well-being, drop-out and lack of practice-maintenance plagues these interventions, which use the breath to anchor attention. No study had yet compared preferences for practices using anchors from di...
Poster
Full-text available
Training attention through meditation has been shown to have robust positive effects, including improving mood and improving skilful action. There are several types of meditation, though, and we are left wondering which type of meditation would be best for each of us. This research investigated whether different types of meditation are better suite...
Poster
Full-text available
(NOTE: data is preliminary) Over the past decade we have all witnessed an explosion of mindfulness-related stuff. Mindfulness meditation spread out from clinical interventions where the patient had to focus on their breath as an anchor of their attention. This attention to an anchor trains a sort of stability and appreciation of the wandering minds...
Presentation
Full-text available
Managing our own attention in our distracting world is a constant challenge, and we tend to be less happy and less skillful when our mind is wandering. Training attention through meditation has been shown to have robust positive effects, including improving mood and improving skillful action. There are several types of meditation, though, and we ar...
Thesis
Full-text available
Precision medicine involves tailoring interventions to the individual, but superior health outcomes are only possible if individuals follow the advice of healthcare professionals. Current meditation interventions have high drop-out rates despite the great benefits continued practice offers. Secular meditation interventions have heretofore used soma...
Poster
Full-text available
Managing our own attention in our distracting world is a constant challenge, and we tend to be less happy and less skilful when our mind is wandering. Training attention through meditation has been shown to have robust positive effects, including improving mood and improving skilful action. There are several types of meditation, though, and we are...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
http://www.visionsciences.org/abstract_detail.php?id=1355#! The present study aimed to determine whether the N170, the most studied face-sensitive ERP component, and its known face inversion effect (FIE) are modulated by fixation within the face and whether eye-tracking should be employed as standard practice in face-research. Two ERP groups were...
Thesis
Full-text available
Humans use different facial processing styles depending on the way faces are presented. This study investigated the effect of point of gaze on a face-sensitive ERP component, the N170. We monitored eye-fixation and recorded ERPs while presenting participants with stimuli (faces, eyeless-faces, houses) with various fixation-points (faces & eyeless-f...
Conference Paper
The amplitude increase of the N170 face-sensitive ERP component in response to intact inverted faces compared to upright faces, known as the N170 Face Inversion Effect (FIE), is attenuated or completely abolished for eyeless faces. This study examines the role of the gaze fixation location on modulating the FIE for intact and eyeless faces. The fix...

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Projects

Projects (6)
Project
PhD Dissertation
Project
Microdosing is the process of consuming very small doses of a substance. While there is mounting anecdotal evidence reporting the utility of microdosing psychedelic substances there are no controlled scientific studies and thus no scientific understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of this practice. Our work aims to characterize potential benefits and drawbacks of microdosing in a community sample. We will examine and report demographics and common practices, personality variables, and creativity scores in order to further understand the microdosing population. We will also use a grounded theory approach to develop a taxonomy of reported benefits and drawbacks.