Psychedelic Resting-state Neuroimaging: A Review and Perspective on Balancing Replication and Novel Analyses

Drummond E-Wen McCulloch, Gitte Moos Knudsen, Frederick Streeter Barrett, Manoj K Doss, Robin Lester Carhart-Harris, Fernando E Rosas, Gustavo Deco, Morten L Kringelbach, Katrin H Preller, Johannes G. Ramaekers, Natasha L. Mason, Felix Müller, Patrick MacDonald Fisher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Clinical research into serotonergic psychedelics is expanding rapidly, showing promising efficacy across myriad disorders. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) is a commonly used strategy to identify psychedelic-induced changes in neural pathways in clinical and healthy populations. Here we, a large group of psychedelic imaging researchers, review the 42 research articles published to date, based on the 17 unique studies evaluating psychedelic effects on rs-fMRI, focusing on methodological variation. Prominently, we observe that nearly all studies vary in data processing and analysis methodology, two datasets are the foundation of over half of the published literature, and there is lexical ambiguity in common outcome metric terminology. We offer guidelines for future studies that encourage coherence in the field. Psychedelic rs-fMRI will benefit from the development of novel methods that expand our understanding of the brain mechanisms mediating its intriguing effects; yet, this field is at a crossroads where we must also consider the critical importance of consistency and replicability to effectively converge on stable representations of the neural effects of psychedelics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104689
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date16 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

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