Michiel van Elk
Principle Investigator / Associate Professor
“The main interest in this topic stems from anecdotal reports of people who microdose and say they experience the beneficial effects. Many people do this in order to feel better, to have a more optimistic outlook on life and to cope with depression and anxiety,” said study author Michiel van Elk, an associate professor of cognitive psychology at Leiden University and supervisor of the PRiSM Lab.
“However, most research on this topic was cross-sectional in nature. This means that the research asked a group of people at a specific point in time whether they microdosed and how they were feeling. This type of research showed that microdosing was associated with better mental health.”
“But correlation does not imply causation,” van Elk explained. “It could be that the participants in those studies self-selected because they experienced the beneficial effects of microdosing. It could also be that placebo effects were at play, as people knew they were actually taking a microdose. Thus, in order to obtain more causal evidence for the effects of microdosing on emotional processing and well-being, we needed to conduct a placebo-controlled study.”