Imperial College London

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 7992r.carhart-harris




Miss Bruna Cunha +44 (0)20 7594 7992




Burlington DanesHammersmith Campus






BibTex format

author = {Stroud, JB and Freeman, TP and Leech, R and Hindocha, C and Lawn, W and Nutt, DJ and Curran, HV and Carhart-Harris, RL},
doi = {10.1007/s00213-017-4754-y},
journal = {Psychopharmacology},
pages = {459--466},
title = {Psilocybin with psychological support improves emotional face recognition in treatment-resistant depression},
url = {},
volume = {235},
year = {2017}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - RATIONALE: Depressed patients robustly exhibit affective biases in emotional processing which are altered by SSRIs and predict clinical outcome. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study is to investigate whether psilocybin, recently shown to rapidly improve mood in treatment-resistant depression (TRD), alters patients' emotional processing biases. METHODS: Seventeen patients with treatment-resistant depression completed a dynamic emotional face recognition task at baseline and 1 month later after two doses of psilocybin with psychological support. Sixteen controls completed the emotional recognition task over the same time frame but did not receive psilocybin. RESULTS: We found evidence for a group × time interaction on speed of emotion recognition (p = .035). At baseline, patients were slower at recognising facial emotions compared with controls (p < .001). After psilocybin, this difference was remediated (p = .208). Emotion recognition was faster at follow-up compared with baseline in patients (p = .004, d = .876) but not controls (p = .263, d = .302). In patients, this change was significantly correlated with a reduction in anhedonia over the same time period (r = .640, p = .010). CONCLUSIONS: Psilocybin with psychological support appears to improve processing of emotional faces in treatment-resistant depression, and this correlates with reduced anhedonia. Placebo-controlled studies are warranted to follow up these preliminary findings.
AU - Stroud,JB
AU - Freeman,TP
AU - Leech,R
AU - Hindocha,C
AU - Lawn,W
AU - Nutt,DJ
AU - Curran,HV
AU - Carhart-Harris,RL
DO - 10.1007/s00213-017-4754-y
EP - 466
PY - 2017///
SN - 0033-3158
SP - 459
TI - Psilocybin with psychological support improves emotional face recognition in treatment-resistant depression
T2 - Psychopharmacology
UR -
UR -
VL - 235
ER -