Psychology

How to pick music for people on LSD, from a scientist whose job that is

Mendel Kaelen, a PhD student in neuroscience at Imperial College, has led several studies investigating the combined influence of music and psychedelic drugs in human trials. One of the challenges? Choosing the music.

Kaelen was involved in a groundbreaking trial that used fMRI and MEG scans to image the brain on LSD for the first time. Twenty volunteers were injected with 75 micrograms of LSD (and, on a separate occasion, a placebo) and had their brains imaged. The research provided insights into the visual hallucinations and changes in consciousness associated with psychedelic trips. During this same trial, participants had periods of silence and periods of listening to music while they were in the fMRI scanner, and then answered questions about their mood and any imagery they experienced (they had their eyes closed). The researchers discovered a link between music and the kind of visuals people saw when on LSD. The study, published in European Neuropsychopharmacology, found that information flow between the parahippocampal cortex—which has been linked to memory—and the visual cortex was reduced under LSD. But with music as well, communication between these two areas increased. Importantly, the magnitude of this effect correlated with people reporting more complex visions and particularly images that were autobiographical in nature.

Original Article (Motherboard Vice):
How to Pick Music for People on LSD, From a Scientist Whose Job That Is
Artwork Fair Use: Mendel Kaelen, Motherboard Vice

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