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Artigo Effects of psilocybin on time perception and temporal control of behaviour in humans

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Effects of psilocybin on time perception and temporal control of behaviour in humans Marc Wittmann Generation Research Programme, Human Science Centre, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, Bad Tölz, Germany.
Olivia Carter Vision Touch and Hearing Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Heffter Research Centre, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland.
Felix Hasler Heffter Research Centre, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland.B. Rael Cahn Department of Neurosciences, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, USA. Heffter Research Centre, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland.
Ulrike Grimberg Heffter Research Centre, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland.
Philipp Spring University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland.
Daniel Hell University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland.
Hans Flohr Brain Research Institute, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany.
Franz X. Vollenweider Heffter Research Centre, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland. University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland.

Psychopharm
Journal of Psychopharmacology
21(1) (2007) 50–64© 2007 British Association for Psychopharmacology ISSN 0269-8811
SAGE Publications Ltd, London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi 10.1177/0269881106065859

Abstract
Hallucinogenic psilocybin is known to alter the subjective experience of time. However, there is no study that systematically investigated objective measures of time perception under psilocybin. Therefore, we studied dose-dependent effects of the serotonin (5-HT)2A/1A receptor agonist psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) on temporal processing, employing tasks of temporal reproduction, sensorimotor synchronization and tapping tempo. To control for cognitive and subjective changes, we assessed spatial working memory and conscious experience. Twelve healthy human volunteers were tested under placebo, medium (115 μg/kg), and high (250 μg/kg) dose conditions, in a double-blind experimental design. Psilocybin was found to significantly impair subjects’ ability to (1) reproduce interval durations longer than 2.5 sec, (2) to synchronize to inter-beat intervals longer than 2 sec and (3) caused subjects to be slower in their preferred tapping rate. These objective effects on timing performance were accompanied by working-memory deficits and subjective changes in conscious state, namely increased reports of ‘depersonalization’ and ‘derealization’ phenomena including disturbances in subjective ‘time sense.’ Our study is the first to systematically assess the impact of psilocybin on timing performance on standardized measures of temporal processing. Results indicate that the serotonin system is selectively involved in duration processing of intervals longer than 2 to 3 seconds and in the voluntary control of the speed of movement. We speculate that psilocybin’s selective disruption of longer intervals is likely to be a product of interactions with cognitive dimensions of temporal processing – presumably via 5-HT2A receptor stimulation.

Keywords
psilocybin, 5-HT2A receptor, temporal processing, sensorimotor synchronization, altered states of consciousness, working memory, human study

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