2:19 PM

LSD Research

I hesitate to post this as the first content post on CommForge, but it appeared first at the Chronicle of Higher Education, and I suppose LSD research counts as scientific research, so I'll post it here.


This video is funny, of course--I mean, who doesn't want to see a 1950s housewife freed from the constraints she must have experienced at the time?  She's so restrained and coy in the beginning of the interview, before taking the drug, and so expressive and interesting afterwards.

I wish the Chronicle had provided some context and commentary, though.  There are significant gender politics involved here--why are we so interested in a "housewife" taking drugs?  What is the representation of "science" here, in the form of the staid, controlled scientist observing the female subject?  What about the discussion between the two scientists at the end?  They are almost caricatures of the mad scientist themselves.  What message about the scientist is being communicated?  Why was LSD research being performed at that moment?  What are/were its political ramifications?

All of that is missing here, as this video has gone viral, and I think the Chronicle missed a chance to do some interesting science communication here.  I'm not convinced this video speaks for itself.

Comments (10)

This video reminds me of the first scenes of "Pineapple Express." The research itself seems very interesting yet fairly unethical. Why should the scientists be allowed to ask for volunteers to try the drug when they probably don't know all of the effects, short- or long-term? The video, as you say, fails to communicate the problems with the drug. In fact, I am certain that many audience members would be fascinated with the drug and the state the woman was in. They, themselves, would like to feel what it is like to be in that state of mind. The discussion afterward between the scientists was more of a philosophical discussion rather than a scientific one. Behavior and state of mind cannot be easily quantified. I find long-term effects to be more scientific in nature, but the video only described the short-term behavior of the patients. In the end, I am confused about LSD, and I am left with a desire for more information than what the video offered.

I agree that the video alone is insufficient. I don't know the context under which I'm supposed to take this video. Is it about human test subjects? About what LSD does to people? I don't know. Therefore, I don't know how to respond to it.

That aside. I think it would be interesting to try LSD in a controled environment. It's not addictive, and has little physical side effects.

You brought up gender politics and that is a little funny to me because I did some quick research on LSD from wikipedia none the less and it said that the CIA was thinking of using it for mind control and maybe the "housewife" was the perfect subject. I mean there are a lot of housewives and they could be a test group but now lets look at the big picture here and try to understand why someone would try a drug like this when there is not much known about it?ree with is but who knows. It just is very crazy to me that the CIA would ever really want to control the mind.

After whatching the video i feel it sends the message about the drug. This shows that LSD is a hallucinogen and can be enjoyed in small doses and therefore almost urges people on to try it. This of course is very bad since the correct dosage would be hard to accomplish as well as Bonito said about not knowing the ramifications of future affects.

This video in my opinion is a horrible excuse for "research." Research should be done with a hypothesis in mind and an objective of the research as well as a controlled test. This "research" is a completely qualitative study that provides no insight into the actual effects of LSD, besides a housewife seeing things. It may not be the scientist's fault that this research is being presented in this way. It could be that the full video provided a better explanation of the objective of the experiment as well as the hypothesis being tested, but was shamelessly edited. However in it's current form the video is only meant to entertain, not educate, and definitely not as "research"

Carlos,

I suppose I agree with you in spirit (this research does seem a little exploitative), but I think you have to be careful when you label things that are quantitative as research and things that are qualitative as not research. Yes, the research protocols are not clear here (most qualitative research in the 50s was much more loosey goosey than what we have now). But I do qualitative research all the time, and it's quite rigorous, and is subject to Institutional Review Board (IRB) review, and so on.

So, again, I agree with the spirit of your comment, but not how you've put it, exactly.

I'd be interested to see some modern research done on psychedelic drugs and their interaction with the brain. You can't really get a whole lot of information out of someone who is on LSD simply by asking them questions. The "research" in this movieis more just entertainment. People in the 50s were so uneducated about drugs and many people had not tried them. To me this is like saying "look at how silly this woman is on acid!" I don't think a whole lot of actual science was accomplished by this study. The interview with the sober philosopher is kind of interesting though, mostly because he's actually used the drug, and isn'y just speculating.

This definitely shows how they portrayed science experiments back in the 50s. It also reminds me of "Pineapple Express" and similar to "the men who stare at goats".

I agree with a lot of the statements above that you are not sure what to take from this video. They do not talk at all about any side effects of taking LSD at a normal amount. But yet, they seen to show LSD as a pleasant drug that you might want to try one day in a controlled environment.

I think it is really interesting to see how informal research was back in the 50's compared with today. I also think it would be interesting to compare current hallucinogen drug research in a side by side type comparison to this study. The video also makes me wonder how many people in addition to the housewife were part of this study of the effects of LSD. And I really agree that some sort of commentary is needed to provide some insight into the reasons behind the study.

I think this was an interesting video to watch. I also think that the effect of drugs is a very difficult matter to test. 50 years ago some tests said that smoking was good for you. Now we know better but i did read a recent article that suggested that nicotine enhances one's ability to think.