For years, party people using MDMA have reported the drug makes it easier for them to be involved in social situations. Recently, researchers from the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience decided to test this theory rather than take our word for it.
To do this, they recruited an ambitious group of volunteers to take ecstasy, while another group, who would later find themselves extremely disappointed, received a placebo. Scientists then showed both groups photographs containing various subject matter and asked the participants to rate them based on how happy the photos made them feel. What they found: The group who was given ecstasy rated pictures portraying social settings higher than those that had no social content whatsoever. The placebo group, well, they did not seem to care either way.
In an attempt to control bias, researchers bamboozled the willing study participants by telling them that they would either be receiving a dose of ecstasy, LSD, marijuana or a placebo. However, participants only received ecstasy or the placebo… and then the fun began.
"People who use it recreationally claim that it makes them feel more social, more interested in interacting with other people, more connected with other people," said lead researcher and professor Harriet de Wit.
The study concludes that ecstasy may be a modern day social lubricant because it shields the brain from recognizing negative emotions -- making people jacked up on MDMA more likely to interact with others regardless if they are angry or in a state of panic.
Researchers add that ecstasy is considered a social drug because it generates oxytocin secretions in the brain, which allows people to experience intense feelings of connectivity with each other.