Roland L. Fischer

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Roland L. Fischer
Fischer during a visit to the Swiss city of Basel, November 1981
Died1997(1997-00-00) (aged 81–82)
Alma materUniversity of Basel
Scientific career
FieldsPsychopharmacology and Pharmacology
InstitutionsOhio State University (1958-1971), George Washington University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University

Roland Fischer (1915 in Budapest, Hungary – 1997 in Majorca, Spain[1]) was an experimental researcher and psychopharmacologist known for his early work on psychedelic drugs, schizophrenia, the perception-hallucination continuum model of altered states of consciousness, and for his work on gustation which later contributed to research supporting supertasting.[2]: 226 [3]: 9 [4] Fischer was formerly professor of experimental psychiatry and associate professor of pharmacology at Ohio State University (1958-1971),[5] and also held academic posts at George Washington University, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins University.[6]: 13, 259–260 

Life and career[edit]

Roland Fischer was born in Budapest in 1915. Six months before the start of World War II in 1939, Roland Fischer left Hungary to study chemistry at the University of Basel in Switzerland, where he received his Ph.D. in 1945.[5][7]

Fischer was active between 1951 and 1977 and was the author of more than 350 publications.[6][8]

In the 1970s, Fischer was a lecturer in pharmacology at the George Washington University Medical School and the Johns Hopkins Medical School and an editor for the Journal of Altered States of Consciousness. At this time, his interests involved biofeedback and EEG research on different states of consciousness.[7]

In 1977, he retired to the island of Majorca where he died in 1997. In gratitude for the opportunities for engaging in teaching and research offered in his late days by the University of the Balearic Islands, he donated his personal collection of books to the library of the University of the Balearic Islands.[1][9]

Model psychosis hypothesis[edit]

Like German chemist Kurt Beringer (1893-1949) before him, Roland Fischer began looking for an explanatory model of psychosis for schizophrenia in the late 1940s by comparing it to altered states produced by hallucinogens.[10]: 226  In the 1950s, Roland Fischer was quoted by Humphry Osmond in 1956 for having previously studied schizophrenia as a research biochemist.[11] Fischer explored the model psychosis hypothesis of altered drug states originally studied by Beringer in 1927. Fischer and other researchers wondered if LSD could act as a chemical model for schizophrenia.[12][13] However, as biochemical research progressed over time, the theory was rejected as newer evidence showed that both substance-induced psychosis and organic psychosis are remarkably different.

Taste science[edit]

In the 1960s, he helped contribute to research on gustation and is credited with discovering the association between the ability to taste PROP (6-n-propylthiouracil) with food preferences and body weight, and its relationship to alcohol use and smoking.[14] His early work in taste science contributed to later research on supertasting.[15]

Perception-hallucination continuum[edit]

Between 1968 and the late 1980s, Roland Fischer developed a model for altered states of consciousness in several stages known as the perception-hallucination continuum. On one end of the continuum were ecstatic states, such as mystical rapture, separated by hyperarousal and hallucinatory states that schizophrenics might experience, followed by an aroused state, such as during creativity. Normal consciousness resides in the middle of the continuum. On the other end the hyperarousal states, such as those experienced during samadhi, separated by tranquil states, for example during Zen meditation.[16][17][18]

Selected works[edit]

  • Fischer, R. L. (1966), The Realities of Hallucinogenic Drugs: A Compendium. Criminology 4: 2–15. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9125.1966.tb00153.x
  • Fischer, R. (1971, November 26). A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States. Science. 174 (4012), 897-904.
  • Fischer, R. (1971). Gustatory, behavioral, and pharmacological manifestations of chemoreception in man. In Ohloff, G. and Thomas, A.F. (Ed.), Gustation and Olfaction. New York: Academic Press. pp. 187–237. ISBN 0125249500.
  • Fischer, R. (1992). A Cartography of Cognitive and Non-Cognitive States of Consciousness. Anthropology of Consciousness 3: 3–13. doi:10.1525/ac.1992.3.3-4.3


  1. ^ a b "Fons Roland Fischer. (Budapest 1915-Esporles, Mallorca 1997) - Fons Roland Fischer - Biblioteca Son Lledó - Fons Antic i Col·leccions Especials - Biblioteques - Què t'oferim? - Servei de Biblioteca i Documentació - Universitat de les Illes Balears".
  2. ^ Lopez, Shane J. (2011). The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1444357921.
  3. ^ Slattery, D. (2008). VR and hallucination: a technoetic perspective. Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research 6(1): 3-18. doi:10.1386/tear.6.1.3_1
  4. ^ Duffy, Valerie B.; Peterson, Julie M.; Dinehart, Mary E.; Bartoshuk, Linda M. (December 2003). Genetic and Environmental Variation in Taste: Associations With Sweet Intensity, Preference, and Intake. Topics in Clinical Nutrition 18 (4): 209-220.
  5. ^ a b Pinta, Emil R. (1994). A History of Psychiatry at The Ohio State University, 1847-1993. Ohio State University. ISBN 0963856405.
  6. ^ a b Fischer, A. (1994). Repetition. Gunter Narr Verlag. ISBN 3823346822.
  7. ^ a b Laughlin, C. (Winter, 1991). Profile in Research: Roland Fischer. Neuroanthropology Network Newsletter. Carleton University. 4(1).
  8. ^ Erowid References Database
  9. ^ According to his friend Paul A. Fabry in his self-published book Detours: The Art Of Uncommon Travel (2004). See ISBN 1418422142. The claim is reasonable considering Fischer was born in 1915 and Fabry is a noted figure in New Orleans (founder of the World Trade Centers Association) whose work and life has been covered by many reliable sources. Except for Fabry, there are no other known English sources covering Fischer's death, although they may appear in the German, Hungarian or Spanish language.
  10. ^ Langlitz, Nicolas David. (2007). Neuropsychedelia. The Revival of Hallucinogen Research since the Decade of the Brain. University of California, Berkeley. Doctoral dissertation. ISBN 9780549611417
  11. ^ Osmond, Humphry (1956). Research on Schizophrenia. In H.A. Abramson (Ed.) Neuropharmacology. Transactions of the 2nd Conference, May 25–27, 1955. Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. New York. p. 183.
  12. ^ Rich, Brandon (2023-02-16). "Fact or Fiction? The Stoned Ape Theory's Claims Psilocybin Was Key in Human Consciousness". Shroomer. Retrieved 2023-08-31.
  13. ^ Hebbard, Frederick W.; Fischer, Roland (1966-01-01). "Effect of Psilocybin, LSD, and mescaline on small, involuntary eye movements". Psychopharmacologia. 9 (2): 146–156. doi:10.1007/BF00404719. ISSN 1432-2072. PMID 5983913. S2CID 40152224.
  14. ^ Stricker, E. M.; Woods, S. (2004). Neurobiology of Food and Fluid Intake. Springer. ISBN 0-306-48484-6.
  15. ^ Prescott, J.; Tepper, Beverly J. (2004). Genetic Variation in Taste Sensitivity. CRC Press. ISBN 0203023439.
  16. ^ Connolly, Peter (2000). Roland Fischer's Cartography of Ecstatic and Mystical States: A Reappraisal. Transpersonal Psychology Review 4(2): 4-16. ISSN 1366-6991
  17. ^ Kokoszka, Andrzej (2007). States of Consciousness: Models for Psychology and Psychotherapy Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy. Springer. ISBN 0-387-32757-6.
  18. ^ Blom, Jan Dirk (2010). Dictionary of Hallucinations. Springer. ISBN 1-4419-1236-3.

Further reading[edit]