Extending Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine with an Implicit Self-Association Task

Therapeutic Ketamine continues to rise in popularity for treatment of treatment-resistant depression. Recently published articles such as Smiling faces might help the drug ketamine keep depression at bay highlight the importance of environmental intervention following ketamine administration to enhance and/or prolong the antidepressant effects of ketamine.

These articles are based upon a recently published study A Novel, Brief, Fully Automated Intervention to Extend the Antidepressant Effect of a Single Ketamine Infusion: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Reviewing the articles supplementary material covering the intervention used in the study reveals important features, including:

  1. Two of the three tasks participants partook in did not involve photos or smiling faces at all. They involved words only.
  2. The final task that did involve photos always included a picture of the participant. Specifically, a picture of the participant was displayed momentarily before a picture of a random individual with a positive or neutral face was presented. In some trials, a picture of a random face was even followed by a negative face.

As a student of cognitive psychology, I believe a photo of the participant being presented was an essential ingredient to the study (although I cannot know for certain without conducting a separate experiment). The photo used for each participant was highly controlled for as well, with a specific angle, distance, and all with a neutral expression. Looking at smiling faces alone may provoke an acute positive response, but the long-term effects are likely mediated by associating positive faces with one’s self. In other words, changing beliefs we have about ourselves.

I have developed a website employing similar methodology used in the studies first two tasks. It is a self-association training task that may help you change how you think about your self. It should take no more than ten minutes. It only involves briefly displaying words, no images at all.

Here’s the website: https://cdn.coltongrubbs.com/asat/

No data or results are recorded. The server I host on may save your IP address temporarily, like every other website ever, but I can’t even access it. This is purely to serve as a potentially helpful tool for those looking to extend therapeutic ketamine’s effects.

It’s designed to be as simple as possible and works on desktops and mobile devices (you may need to rotate your device into landscape mode for it to display correctly).

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