Distortions Of Reality

President Trump this calendar week repeated an assertion he made before long after his election: that millions of ballots cast illegally past times undocumented immigrants terms him the pop vote. If true, this would propose the wholesale corruption of American democracy.

Not to worry: As far every bit anyone knows, the president’s assertion is akin to proverb that millions of unicorns also voted illegally.

- In a Swirl of ‘Untruths’ as well as ‘Falsehoods,’ Calling a Lie a Lie

Reality has been to a greater extent than than a niggling trippy lately. Two dissimilar versions of electrical flow events are beingness presented to Americans: ane based on the quantification of information as well as the historical record, as well as the other relying on “alternative facts”, a manufactured reality that supports the President's agenda. My final 2 posts direct hold dealt alongside the nature of blatant lying as well as the difficulty of understanding one's political opponents. I've tried to frame my worries nearly the futurity inwards terms of the neuro/psychological influences on political behavior. After all, this is as well as non The Politicritic. But the split upwards keeps getting worse as well as worse: the executive companionship banning Syrian refugees as well as restricting immigrants from Muslim countries, the baseless claim that millions of “illegals” voted for Clinton,1 the ugly wall as well as who volition pay for it. White House/Breitbart Strategist Steve Bannon told the media to “keep its oral cavity closed as well as simply hear for a while” (a violation of the EPA, Was I Wrong?” I haven't done that yet. Lately, my criterion critiques of cog neuro papers as well as DARPA projects direct hold seemed unimportant inwards comparing to the cruelty of recent executive orders (and other threats). These policies are an embarrassment. Shameful. Unamerican. The U.S.A. is sliding into the ill-fitting adjust of an isolationist, authoritarian regime as well as it's frightening. We must remain engaged as well as create produce via straight action: entrance hall our representatives, utter out inwards back upwards of those without a voice, protestation against unconstitutional changes — inwards defense forcefulness of freedom as well as jurist for all.

Figure from Wacker et al. (2017).

Hallucinogenic Highlights

But sometimes nosotros need a interruption from reality. The option reality tenaciously pursued past times aficionados of psychedelic drugs (e.g., mind-blowing perceptual distortions, insight into a universal consciousness, entering a portal into to a greater extent than or less other dimension, etc.) is vastly different, of course, than the dystopian sociopolitical build of  “alternative facts” (i.e., a spider web of lies).

On that note, 2 novel papers on LSD were published this week. The commencement study provided insight into why LSD trips final as well as thus long (Wacker et al., 2017). LSD binds to the human 5-HT2B receptor (one inwards a large solid unit of measurement of serotonin receptors) inwards a peculiar means that prolongs its signaling kinetics. The authors created a crystal construction of 5-HT2B jump to LSD as well as institute an “unexpected binding configuration inwards the orthosteric site.”3

Close-up thought of LSD as well as the orthosteric binding site of the receptor from: (B) the membrane, as well as (C) the extracellular space.

Wacker et al. (2017) consider this a model organization for the 5-HT2A receptor, idea to survive the principal site of activity for LSD's psychedelic properties.

In fact, the minute newspaper linked the “fabric of meaning” to the activation of 5-HT2A receptors (Preller et al., 2017). “Meaning” was defined every bit the attribution of pregnant to musical excerpts that were non previously important for the participant. This “meaningless” status was compared to musical excerpts that had been selected every bit personally significant, as well as to neutral passages. The Swiss researchers also collected pharmacological fMRI information from the 22 volunteers, 16 of whom had never taken hallucinogens before. This was surprising to me.4

The within-subject drug weather were: (1) Placebo pre-treatment + Placebo; (2) Placebo pre-treatment + LSD; as well as (3) Ketanserin pre-treatment + LSD. Ketanserin is a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist as well as every bit expected, it neutralized the subjective effects of LSD (although the authors were somewhat surprised past times the magnitude of this effect).

Subjective Drug Effects

Mood Ratings

LSD also increased meaningfulness ratings for the meaningless musical passages, an number that was reversed past times ketanerin every bit well. This overattribution of personal relevance was accompanied past times increased activation of medial as well as lateral frontal regions for the LSD condition, compared to ketanserin + LSD.
...the results render show that this alteration inwards relevance attribution is related to increased activity of encephalon areas that are typically involved inwards self-referential processing as well as are of clinical importance inwards psychiatric disorders characterized past times altered self-processing.

But it would survive an exaggeration to say that all the implicated structures are specific for self-relevant processing, since the SMA, dACC, as well as vlPFC are of import for motor as well as cognitive processes. Another commutation number inwards fMRI studies of LSD as well as other psychoactive drugs is motility artifact. Three participants were excluded for excessive caput drive (>3 mm) during a scan, but this criterion may survive likewise liberal.

Nonetheless, the consummate reversal of LSD's mind-blowing effects past times ketanserin was fascinating. Now if nosotros could eliminate to a greater extent than nefarious distortions of reality alongside a drug, that would actually survive something.

As always, give thank y'all you for reading!


1 “You direct hold people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are inwards 2 states. You direct hold people registered inwards 2 states. They’re registered inwards a New York as well as a New Jersey. They vote twice,” Trump said, adding that none of the illegal votes were cast for him.

Read to a greater extent than here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article128727224.html#storylink=cpy

But but... Trump's daughter, son-in-law, as well as press secretarial assistant are registered to vote inwards 2 states.

2 That companionship was this is non unusual during transitions. We shall see...

3 Wacker et al. (2017):
To obtain structural insights into LSD’s actions at human serotonin receptors, nosotros crystallized an engineered 5-HT2BR build jump to LSD past times extensively modifying our previous approach (Wacker et al., 2013). We eventually obtained crystals as well as solved the X-ray construction of the 5-HT2BR/LSD complex to a resolution of 2.9 Å.

4 Preller et al. (2017):
No substantial side effects were recorded during the study. Four participants reported transient headaches after drug effects had worn off. One player reported transient slumber disturbances for the commencement 2 nights after drug administration. Participants were contacted ane time again iii months after the final drug administration. No farther side effects were recorded.


Preller, K., Herdener, M., Pokorny, T., Planzer, A., Kraehenmann, R., Stämpfli, P., Liechti, M., Seifritz, E., & Vollenweider, F. (2017). The Fabric of Meaning as well as Subjective Effects inwards LSD-Induced States Depend on Serotonin 2A Receptor Activation. Current Biology DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.030

Wacker, D., Wang, S., McCorvy, J., Betz, R., Venkatakrishnan, A., Levit, A., Lansu, K., Schools, Z., Che, T., Nichols, D., Shoichet, B., Dror, R., & Roth, B. (2017). Crystal Structure of an LSD-Bound Human Serotonin Receptor Cell, 168 (3), 377-2147483647 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.12.033

   ------The xx

You've applied the pressure
To direct hold me crystalised
And you've got the faith
That I could select paradise

I'll forgive as well as forget
Before I'm paralyzed
Do I direct hold to run on upwards the pace
To run on y'all satisfied

Things direct hold gotten closer to the sun
And I've done things inwards modest doses
So don't call upwards that I'm pushing y'all away
When you're the ane that I've kept closest

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