Microdoses of LSD May Alter Our Sense of Time

Discover how microdoses of LSD can influence our sense of time.

Have you ever wondered how our brains perceive time? Well, scientists have been studying the effects of the classic psychedelic LSD to understand its impact on our perception of time. In this study, researchers wanted to find out if taking small amounts of LSD, known as microdosing, could change the way we experience time. They hypothesized that LSD might affect something called “priors,” which are our brain's expectations based on past experiences.

LSD and Time Perception: Study Design 

To investigate this, the researchers re-analyzed previous studies and compared the effects of LSD microdoses to a placebo (a substance with no active ingredients).

They asked participants to perform a task where they had to estimate the duration of different time intervals.

The participants were given either a small amount of LSD (5, 10, or 20 micrograms) or a placebo, and their performance was compared.

Results: LSD Improves Estimation of Longer Time Intervals

The researchers found that LSD microdosing had an interesting effect on time perception.

People who took LSD were better at reproducing longer time intervals compared to those who took the placebo. In other words, LSD made their estimates more accurate.

However, it's important to note that even under the influence of LSD, their estimates were still a bit shorter than the actual durations.

Understanding Priors

Our brains use something called “priors” to make predictions about the world. Priors are like a set of expectations based on what we've experienced before. For example, if we've seen a lot of short intervals in the past, our brain might expect the next interval to be short as well. This can lead to biases in how we perceive time.

Global and Local Priors

The researchers also looked at two types of priors: global priors and local priors. Global priors are our brain's general expectations about time intervals. They found that LSD didn't have much effect on global priors. 

However, local priors, which are more specific to the recent past, did influence time perception under LSD. LSD seemed to reduce the influence of these local priors, making time estimates more accurate.

Precision-weighted Priors

The researchers also measured the level of certainty or precision of the priors. They found that when the precision of the priors was taken into account, LSD had a smaller impact on time perception. This means that LSD affected the way our brain used prior information to estimate time intervals.


In summary, this study showed that taking small doses of LSD can change the way we perceive time. LSD seemed to reduce the influence of our brain's expectations based on recent experiences, making our time estimates more accurate. These findings support the idea that psychedelics like LSD can alter our perception by changing how our brain processes information.

So, next time you think about time, remember that even tiny amounts of LSD can have a significant impact on how we experience it! 

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Dr. Ana Holmes, Physican, Philadelphia, US

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