790: Control

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Which, at one point, led to a study showing that LSD produces no more hallucinations than a placebo.
Title text: Which, at one point, led to a study showing that LSD produces no more hallucinations than a placebo.

[edit] Explanation

In a product experiment, two groups of people are given a certain pill or lotion. Some people are given the product to be tested, while others (the control group) are given a placebo; nobody is told which group they belong to. The control group acts as a norm for comparison against the others.

Randall has messed with this process by giving LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) to the control group. LSD is a drug that causes hallucinations and distortions in the perception of time and space. Megan, apparently a control, is experiencing spiders in her hallucinations. Since the control group is supposed to reflect what "normally" happens, this is indeed very confusing to the scientists.

The title text suggests that, in a different study, this substitution was performed when the product being tested was itself LSD. This lead to the conclusion that LSD is no more likely to cause hallucinations than a placebo, somehow implying that LSD is not a hallucinogen. We can only hope they were able to redo the test, as in layman's terms "Nonsense MUST be wrong".

[edit] Transcript

[Caption above the frame:]
My Hobby:
[Cueball looks down at his arm calmly, while next to him Megan is violently flailing around in terror. In the foreground a Cueball-like guy stands next to Ponytail who is holding a clipboard. They look on in puzzlement.]
Cueball: My rash seems to have shrunk by about 20% today.
Megan: Oh god spiders
Cueball-like guy: ? ?
Ponytail: ?
[Caption below the frame:]
Sneaking into experiments and
giving LSD to the control group.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Soon followed by psychologists recommending the tested drug as a depressant after looking at the results of the trials. Davidy²²[talk] 02:21, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

This has always bothered me: If LSD Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, why isn't it LAD? What's so special about the S in LySergic that it beats out the A in Acid? Anonymous 01:06, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

It is from the German "Lysergsäure-diethylamid" where "säure" refers to the acidity. 14:39, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense. Anonymous. 00:10, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

LSD invokes hallucinations, not delirium. By definition, you know when you're hallucinating. Just saying. 00:21, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Hallucinations are, in fact, indistinguishable from reality, like delirium. LSD-like effects, where things feel real but you know they aren't are sometimes called pseudohallucinations. Delirants like belladona, datura, mandrake or even nutmeg are more likely produce true hallucinations, usually of the unpleasant kind. GuB (talk) 13:56, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?