Decreased mental time travel to the past associated with less integrated default mode network under LSD

‘Mental time travel’ refers to the act of ruminating on past experiences or attempting to visualise one’s own future. This study used fMRI and structured interviews to examine how LSD affects mental time travel while participants let their minds wander.

Under LSD, subjects visited mental spaces of the past – but not the present or future – significantly fewer times than under placebo. This reduction in time spent re-imagining one’s past was associated with decreased connectivity within the default mode network (DMN), a brain network that has been commonly associated with autobiographical memory recollection.

These results provide evidence for the therapeutic applications of LSD, suggesting that reduced DMN activity could prevent excessive reflection on one’s personal past, which may prove beneficial in the treatment of depression and other emotional disorders.

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