Nootropics

The struggle to find a drug that makes you so fast that you save more time taking it than you lose reading about it


Medication for brain performance enhancement. Anecdotally ubiquitous amongst the next cohort of my highly competitive field, and dotcom types. Tweaking brains with ‘smart drugs’ to get ahead in Silicon Valley is notorious. Also my brief contact with finance types leads me to believe it is common there. I am sure it is in many industries besides.

My advice on this is of course worthless, as I know nothing of pharmacology etc. But even if I did, I would not endorse the taking of performance enhancing drugs without personal medical advice from your doctor and verification that your behaviours met the requirements of your local law enforcement regime’s positioning and branding regarding which drugs are socially and legally accepted.

DIY? “Neurohacker toolbox”. Scott Alexander speculates: Cognitive enhancers: mechanisms and tradeoffs. Relates to Gwern’s Drug Heuristics.

Aella, Are you just pushing the “insight” button? on taking LSD for the (feeling of?) insight.

SMBC on Uppers

Astrid, Nehlig. 2010. “Is Caffeine a Cognitive Enhancer?” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, no. S1: 85–94. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-2010-091315.

Moran, Rosalyn J., Pablo Campo, Mkael Symmonds, Klaas E. Stephan, Raymond J. Dolan, and Karl J. Friston. 2013. “Free Energy, Precision and Learning: The Role of Cholinergic Neuromodulation.” The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 33 (19): 8227–36. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4255-12.2013.

Rae, Caroline D., and Stefan Bröer. 2015. “Creatine as a Booster for Human Brain Function. How Might It Work?” Neurochemistry International 89 (October): 249–59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2015.08.010.

Smith, A. 2005. “Effects of Repeated Doses of Caffeine on Mood and Performance of Alert and Fatigued Volunteers.” Journal of Psychopharmacology 19 (6): 620–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881105056534.

Vossel, Simone, Markus Bauer, Christoph Mathys, Rick A. Adams, Raymond J. Dolan, Klaas E. Stephan, and Karl J. Friston. 2014. “Cholinergic Stimulation Enhances Bayesian Belief Updating in the Deployment of Spatial Attention.” The Journal of Neuroscience 34 (47): 15735–42. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0091-14.2014.