LSD-induced effects in elephants: Comparisons with musth behavior

Abstract

Musth is a condition observed in male Asiatic elephants and is characterized by aggression and temporal gland secretions. A classic and controversial 1962 study attempted to induce a musth syndrome in an elephant via treatment with LSD. Two elephants in the present study survived dosages of LSD (.003-.10 mg/kg) and exhibited changes in the frequency and/or duration of several behaviors as scored according to a quantitative observational system. LSD increased aggression and inappropriate behaviors such as ataxia. Results are discussed in terms of musth and drug-induced perceptual-motor dysfunction.

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Correspondence to Ronald K. Siegel.

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This research was supported in part by USPHS Grant MH-23880. The author thanks H. Johnson, S. Craig, M. Tennet, D. Dooley, P. Quinn, and J. Kobrin for cooperation and assistance at Lion Country Safari. The behavioral profile was developed by M. Brodie.

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Siegel, R.K. LSD-induced effects in elephants: Comparisons with musth behavior. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 22, 53–56 (1984). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03333759

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Keywords

  • Asiatic Elephant
  • African Elephant
  • Plasma Testosterone Level
  • Aggressive Display
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide