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MDMA (Ecstasy): Empathogen or Love Potion?

(Science Daily) MDMA -- commonly known as ecstasy -- increases feelings of empathy and social connection. These 'empathogenic' effects suggest that MDMA might be useful to enhance the psychotherapy of people who struggle to feel connected to others, as may occur in association with autism, schizophrenia, or antisocial personality disorder…
Dr. Gillinder Bedi, author, explained: "We found that MDMA produced friendliness, playfulness, and loving feelings, even when it was administered to people in a laboratory with little social contact. We also found that MDMA reduced volunteers' capacity to recognize facial expressions of fear in other people, an effect that may be involved in the increased sociability said to be produced by MDMA."
These data suggest that MDMA produces effects that make others seem more attractive and friendly, which may serve as a significant motivator in its use as a recreational drug. Importantly, it also makes others appear less threatening, which could increase users' social risk-taking.
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