Extraseminarium i psykologi, med Balász Szigeti


Datum: fredag 21 oktober 2022

Tid: 17.00 – 19.00

Plats: Hörsal 2, Albano

Fredag 21 oktober, kl 17-19: Balász Szigeti, PhD, vid Centre for Psychedelic Research på Imperial College London, talar om "Placebo effects in psychedelic micro- and macrodosing".

Balász Szigeti
Balász Szigeti

Seminariet äger rum fredag den 21 oktober 2022, kl. 17–19, på plats i Hörsal 2, Albano, men kommer även att strömmas online i Zoom:


Språk: Seminariet kommer att hållas på engelska.

Avdelningen för klinisk psykologi ansvarar för dagens seminarium.


Microdosing is the practice of regularly using low doses of psychedelic drugs. We developed 'self-blinding', a novel paradigm where voluntary citizen scientists implement their own placebo control without clinical supervision.

Using this method, we conducted the largest placebo-controlled trial on psychedelics to-date (n=191). Small, but significant microdose-placebo differences were observed, however the trial suffered from weak blinding. To incorporate low blinding quality into the interpretation of trial results, we developed a novel analytical technique, the Correct Guess Rate Curve (CGRC), that can estimate what would be the outcome of a perfectly blinded trial based on data from an imperfectly blinded trial. The application CGRC argues that the observed placebo-microdose differences are likely to be false positives created by weak blinding. Beyond its implications for microdosing, these results suggest that placebo-controlled studies that do not assess blinding quality are more fallible than conventionally assumed.

Placebo effects are also influencing psychedelic assisted therapy, i.e. macrodosing; however in this case blinding is near impossible due to conspicuous drug effects. To estimate the effect of positive expectancy, we analyzed the relationship between pre-treatment expectancy and therapeutic outcomes from the recent psilocybin vs. escitalopram trial. In the escitalopram arm increased expectations were associated with improved outcomes, but surprisingly the same association was not found in the psilocybin arm. Furthermore, we used counterfactual modelling to show that if participants would have equal expectancy for both treatments, then the between-treatments difference would not reach clinical significance in most cases.


Balázs Szigeti bio

Balázs studied physics at Imperial College and then earned a PhD in computational neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh. After graduating, he spent a few years as a biomedical software engineer at the Icahn Institute of Genetics in New York to create tools for whole cell modeling. He invented 'self-blinding', a novel methodology that enables self-experimenters to incorporate placebo control into their experimentation without clinical supervision. Using this methodology, Balázs designed and lead the self-blinding microdose study, the largest placebo-controlled study on psychedelics microdosing to-date. Balázs currently investigates the intersection of placebo effects and psychedelic medicine, while also continuing to setup new citizen science initiatives using the self-blinding methodology.

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