A study shows that expectancy effects may be the source of microdosing's benefits

A small study on the effects of microdosing shows, shockingly, that people who could tell they were on a psychedelic had better effects. The study also failed to connect the effects of microdosing with any of the myriad positives folks associate with it, and, shockingly, may hinder cognitive function.

This mirrors my limited experiences with microdosing wherein the micro part is less interesting than the dosing.


The results revealed significant effects on the self-report questionnaire, where participants taking psilocybin reported higher acute effects compared to those taking placebo. However, these results were only significant among subjects who had correctly identified which condition they were in — in other words, subjects who correctly identified whether or not they were taking psilocybin. This suggests that the observed subjective effects were driven by participants' expectations.

While the EEG results revealed altered EEG rhythms, the study failed to reveal any positive impact of psilocybin on subjects' creativity, cognition, or self-reported mental well-being. By contrast, a trend in the results suggested that the psilocybin may have hindered performance on certain cognitive tasks. The authors note that this trend is in line with past evidence suggesting that stronger doses of serotonergic hallucinogens can be detrimental to cognitive functioning, for example, by impairing attention and decision-making.

Overall, the results did not support previous evidence that microdosing improves well-being, creativity, or cognitive function. However, there were several limitations to the study which may have impacted the findings.