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Okay. I'm not going to post my writeup since it's a little outdated — close to two years old now — and contains a lot of info irrelevant to this discussion, but the gist:

I tried out piracetam very actively (using it frequently, varying a lot of things, and closely noting the effects) for about two months in summer 2012, and have been using it periodically since then. I didn't notice any long-term effects, though I don't think I've actually ever tried to test the effects of a fixed long-term regimen.

What I did find was very dramatic acute effects, starting within an hour or two after taking it and lasting for a couple hours. These effects included music enhancement, visual enhancement (colors look brighter, textures look sharper), relief from anxiety/depression accompanied by a sense of clarity, and often mild euphoria.

While I haven't done any blind tests and therefore can't be entirely sure the effects aren't placebo, they're often quite strong (e.g. piracetam has helped me go from being very anxious to feeling very clear and self-possessed in situations where I wouldn't expect that to happen otherwise) and some of them feel quite unlike any state I experience when not using piracetam.

It does seem to be difficult to get piracetam to work right, though — there seems to be idiosyncrasy in the dose people respond to, you have to figure out how much choline to take with it, tolerance builds, you might need to take a high initial dose ('attack dose') to get effects immediately, etc. I can see how this unreliability might seem characteristic of a placebo, but I can also see how it might cause people to falsely conclude that something was a placebo because they didn't get effects from it easily.

Is this talking about me (SL), or is there some other person of our acquaintance who's written up an experience with piracetam? I can chime in with my experiences if so desired.

This particular reference is from James & Bolstein, 1992, and Eliezer gets it from Influence, Science and Practice. It's on chapter 2, page 26 in the fifth edition.

This comment is shockingly insightful and I would like to thank you for it.

What is the aim of philosophy? To be clear-headed rather than confused; lucid rather than obscure; rational rather than otherwise; and to be neither more, nor less, sure of things than is justifiable by argument or evidence. That is worth trying for.

Geoffrey Warnock

Education helps close the gap between what man believes to be the truth and truth itself.

Richard Scholz

One of the toughest things in any science... is to weed out the ideas that are really pleasing but unencumbered by truth.

Thomas Carew

A system for generating ungrounded but mostly true beliefs would be an oracle, as impossible as a perpetual motion machine.

(McKay & Dennett 2009)

Man’s most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe.

Euripides, Helen

Ah, I think you misunderstood me (on reflection, I wasn't very clear) — I'm doing an experiment, not a research project in the sense of looking over the existing literature.

(For the record, I decided on conducting something along the lines of the studies mentioned in this post to look at how distraction influences retention of false information.)

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