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Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00881

Modulation of social cognition via hallucinogens and "entactogens"

  • 1University of Zurich, Switzerland

Social cognition is a fundamental ability in human everyday lives. Deficits in social functioning also represent a core aspect of many psychiatric disorders. Yet, despite its significance, deficits in social cognition skills are insufficiently targeted by current treatments. Hallucinogens and entactogens have been shown to have the potential to modulate social processing. This article reviews the literature on the influence of hallucinogens and entactogens on social processing in controlled experimental studies in humans and elucidates the underlying neurobiological and neuropharmacological mechanisms. Furthermore, it identifies current knowledge gaps and derives implications for hallucinogen-assisted treatment approaches as well as the development of novel medication for trans-diagnostic impairments in social cognition.

Keywords: psychedelics, emotion, psilocybin, MDMA (3, 4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine), GHB (γ-hydroxybutyric acid), LSD, theory of mind (ToM)

Received: 27 Jun 2019; Accepted: 07 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Preller and Vollenweider. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Katrin H. Preller, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland, preller@bli.uzh.ch