The drug activates the same receptors in the body that get triggered when people are in a flow-state.
Have you ever been so focused on something that you didn’t notice time passing by? This is called being in a flow-state and a group of researchers have been looking for ways to replicate the feeling.
What they particularly focused on was recreating this feeling in teams and examining individuals’ brain patterns. What came out of this unique study was the surprising fact that a constipation drug could help create conditions conducive to flow-states.
The drug is called prucalopride and it activates the same receptors (labeled 5HT4 receptors) in the gut that are also activated in the brain when people are in flow.
The researchers had participants take the drug for seven days and then complete a memory task on the sixth day. They also had a placebo group to compare results against.
They found that those who took the drug could appropriately complete the memory task with an 81 percent success rate compared to a 76 percent success rate in the placebo group. They speculated that that might be because the drug triggers parts of the brain associated with memory.
Which parts of the brain are these? How do they work? What other tests did the researchers run? How effective overall did they find prucalopride to be in triggering flow? This clever video by Sci Show answers all these questions and more.