First study to explore language and LSD since the 1960s: New study shows LSD's effects on language
In the first published study on LSD since the 1960s, scientists discover a the influence that LSD has on semantics. The study suggests that researching LSD can help us to understand how our brains store and recall semantic concepts.This article originally appeared on Science Daily
The consumption of LSD, short for lysergic acid diethylamide, can produce altered states of consciousness. This can lead to a loss of boundaries between the self and the environment, as might occur in certain psychiatric illnesses. David Nutt, professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, leads a team of researchers who study how this psychedelic substance works in the brain.
In this study, Dr. Neiloufar Family, post-doc from the University of Kaiserslautern, investigates how LSD can affect speech and language. She asked ten participants to name a sequence of pictures both under placebo and under the effects of LSD, one week apart.
"Results showed that while LSD does not affect reaction times," explains lead author Neiloufar Family, "people under LSD made more mistakes that were similar in meaning to the pictures they saw." For example, when people saw a picture of a car, they would accidentally say 'bus' or 'train' more often under LSD than under placebo. This indicates that LSD seems to effect the mind's semantic networks, or how words and concepts are stored in relation to each other. When LSD makes the network activation stronger, more words from the same family of meanings come to mind.
The results from this experiment can lead to a better understanding of the neurobiological basis of semantic network activation. Neiloufar Family explains further implication: "These findings are relevant for the renewed exploration of psychedelic psychotherapy, which are being developed for depression and other mental illnesses. The effects of LSD on language can result in a cascade of associations that allow quicker access to far away concepts stored in the mind."
Technische Universität Kaiserslautern. (2016, August 18). First study to explore language and LSD since the 1960s: New study shows LSD's effects on language. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160818090035...