LSD Changes Time Perception

Even a small dose of LSD changes the way people interpret time.

Researchers examined the effects of microdosing LSD on people’s perception of time in a recent study. Participants were split up into groups. One of the groups was given a placebo and the three others received different microdoses of LSD: 5, 10, and 20 micrograms. Then, they did what’s called a temporal reproduction task. For the task, participants were shown a blue circle on a screen for a certain amount of time and asked to remember and recreate how long it appeared. They would then hold the space bar down on a computer for the amount of time they perceived seeing the blue circle.

Researchers wanted to see how accurate the groups would be in reproducing how long the circle appeared. They found that the people who microdosed held down the space bar for significantly longer periods of time than the placebo group on average. Researchers called this “over-reproduction.”

The changes in time perception occurred without any noticeable effects from the drug. They asked people to report if they felt anything from taking the LSD, perceptual distortions, unusual thinking, or changes in their ability to concentrate. While there were some weak effects, statistically, the changes in the participants perception of time happened independent of any conscious effect from the drug.

Nearly all previous work on time perception and hallucinogens has shown the opposite effect.



Photo: “Snail bomb” by Mon Œil is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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