Breakthrough Study Reveals How LSD Dissolves a Person’s Sense of Self

New submitter future guy shares a report from New Atlas: A fascinating study led by scientists at the University of Zurich has uncovered key insights into the mechanisms behind how our brain generates our sense of self. The researchers administered lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to several participants in order to home in on where in the brain our sense of self is activated and what happens when a powerful psychedelic drug interferes with that process. The study administered 24 subjects either LSD, LSD in combination with ketanserin, or a placebo. Ketanserin is a compound that is known to inhibit many of the effects of LSD by blocking the serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2A receptor). Each subject lay in an MRI scanner while undergoing a series of social interaction simulations with a virtual avatar. As well as the brain imaging, the subjects’ eye movements were monitored to track when they were or were not following the gaze of the virtual avatar.

The study demonstrated LSD-altered brain activity in several regions previously identified as fundamental for developing coherent self-representation during social interaction, including the posterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex and the angular gyrus. Most importantly though was the observation that ketanserin normalized the effects of LSD to the point where the group influenced by ketanserin and LSD displayed similar results to those under the effect of the placebo. These results strongly suggest that the 5-HT2A receptor plays a fundamental role in the development of self-awareness, and differentiation between the self and others. The value of this research is two-fold. As well as simply increasing our knowledge of how the brain functions under the influence of psychedelic drugs, it is suggested that different psychiatric conditions could be treated by manipulating the 5-HT2A receptor pathways.

Zuckerberg Takes Steps to Calm Facebook Employees

Calming employees was particularly vital because morale had sunk at the company, Facebook employees have said, especially after months of scrutiny over how the social network was used by Russian agents to influence the 2016 presidential election. Keeping workers engaged is crucial in Silicon Valley’s highly competitive job market, where recruiting and retaining talent often is difficult against deep-pocketed rivals.