The latest scientific paper to come out of the Beckley/Imperial Psychedelic Research Programme has been published today online in Psychopharmacology, and will be published in print later this month. The paper, titled LSD enhances the emotional response to music investigates how LSD affects people’s emotional responses to music. Music is considered an important element in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, and so understanding what effect it may have on emotions is integral to understanding how it may be used effectively.
The study sought to test the hypothesis that music-evoked emotions are enhanced under LSD, using a modern placebo-controlled trial. Ten healthy volunteers listened to five different tracks of instrumental music during each of two study days, a placebo day followed by an LSD day, separated by 5–7 days. Subjective ratings were completed after each music track and included a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the nine-item Geneva Emotional Music Scale (GEMS-9). In all cases, the results demonstrated that the emotional response to music is enhanced by LSD, especially the emotions “wonder”, “transcendence”, “power” and “tenderness”.
The findings of the study finally provide scientific evidence to backup the long-held assumption that psychedelics enhance music-evoked emotion, and provide tentative and indirect support for the notion that this effect can be harnessed in the context of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, although further research would be required to test this link directly.
This study is another exciting step of our ongoing research into reaching a deeper understanding of the effects of psychedelics, and building an effective knowledge-base from which psychedelic-assisted treatments can developed.
The paper can be accessed online here, although unfortunately the journal is not open access, so it is not freely available.