Research shows LSD improves mood, sociability

A study published in the research journal Neuropsychopharmacology on June 22 shows that under the influence of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25), people are less likely to correctly recognize facial expressions, but are more emotionally empathetic and display more sociable behavior and emotions.

The study entitled, “LSD Acutely Impairs Fear Recognition and Enhances Emotional Empathy and Sociality”, was conducted by five researchers from the clinical pharmacology and toxicology, and biomedicine departments at University Hospital in Basil, Switzerland, and the psychiatry department at the University of Basel.

In recent years, experts in the psychology and neuropharmacology fields have been experimenting with LSD for its potential use in the treatment mental disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, as well as addiction.

In the double-blind study, 40 adult participants were give 100 or 200 micrograms of LSD or a placebo, and then took a range of psychological tests five to seven hours later which included the Face Emotion Recognition Task, Multifaceted Empathy Test, Social Value Orientation Test and Adjective Mood Rating Scale.

Subjects under the influence of the drug performed worse particularly in the area of recognizing fearful or sad facial expressions, but were able to determine happy or angry faces the same as participants who were give a placebo.

LSD also decreased subjects cognitive empathy, meaning they were less likely to identify another’s mental condition, but were more apt to feel concerned about their welfare.

When asked to apportion a small amount of money between themselves and other subjects, LSD-influenced participants distributed sums more equally, while the placebo group tended to keep more for themselves.

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Subjective effects of LSD on the Visual Analog Scales test (courtesy nature.com)

Finally, the study found that LSD improved a subject’s overall mood, as those under the influence said they felt close to others, trustful and happy, but yet also tended to entertain more abstract thoughts and felt more introverted.  

Among the subjects given LSD, reported negative emotions of fear and having a bad “trip” were significantly less than those indicating positive emotions, particularly those who took the 200 microgram dosage.

 

[PsyPost] [nature.com] [Photo courtesy thefreethoughtproject.com]