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Music may help reveal how LSD works in the brain

Our close relationship with music helped scientists to understand how LCS works in our brain.

Humans perceive everyday things and experiences differently, music is one of the most significant external objects that influence our feelings and our perception of reality.

Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics at Zurich University Hospital for Psychiatry, led by neuroscientist Katrin Preller, now reveal that LSD influences this process by stimulating the serotonin 2A receptor, one of the 14 serotonin receptors in the brain.

Before the study began, the participants were asked to categorize 30 pieces of music as personally important and meaningful or without any personal relevance, some strong emotional examples of what volunteers have chosen are Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence,” songs by Radiohead and Muse, and classical music by composer Franz Lizst.

The participants were divided into three groups: one group took 100 micrograms of LSD (a typical dose for people who want to trip), one group took a placebo, and the last group took the LSD along with an acid-canceling drug called ketanserin.

In the subsequent experiment, LSD altered the attribution of meaning compared to a placebo: “Pieces of music previously classified as meaningless suddenly became personally meaningful under the influence of LSD” explains Katrin Preller, who conducted the study in conjunction with Professor Franz Vollenweider and the Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging research team.

See more details, the study has been published on Current Biology.


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