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    cannabis use social cognition

    Cannabis Use Effects in Social Cognition


    Validation of the Spanish version of the multifaceted empathy test: comparison between cannabis use effects and controls in social cognition

    Alberto Sainz-Cort, Marta Martín-Islas, Daniel Jimenez-Garrido, Miriam López-Navarro, Genís Oña, Elena Muñoz-Marrón, Luis Heredia, Mercè Gil-Pérez, Margarita Torrente, Paloma Vicens, and José Carlos Bouso.

    International Clinical Psychopharmacology



    About the study

    The aim of this study was to validate the Spanish version of the Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET) and to evaluate the effects of cannabis use on social cognition. Conducted by researchers from several institutions, including ICEERS and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, the study involved 116 participants from Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) and 86 university students as controls. The MET was used to measure cognitive empathy (CE) and emotional empathy (EE), alongside the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET) for convergent validity. The study’s objective was to determine the reliability and validity of the MET in Spanish and to investigate how cannabis use affects social cognition.

    The results showed that the MET CE scale had low internal consistency, whereas the EE scale demonstrated high internal consistency. Cannabis users exhibited deficient emotional recognition, especially for positive stimuli, compared to the control group. While overall EE scores were similar between groups, cannabis users scored lower on negative stimuli. These findings suggest that cannabis use impairs emotional recognition, particularly for positive emotions, and dampens reactions to negative stimuli. This study validates the MET Spanish version for future research and highlights the nuanced impact of cannabis on different aspects of social cognition.

    This research contributes to the ongoing debate on cannabis use, emphasizing its effects on social cognition. Previous studies have shown mixed results regarding cannabis and empathy, with some indicating enhanced empathy under acute effects and others demonstrating impaired emotional recognition. The study’s findings align with literature indicating decreased emotional recognition in chronic cannabis users. The validation of the Spanish MET and the insights into cannabis’ effects on empathy can inform future research and therapeutic practices, particularly in understanding and mitigating the social cognitive deficits associated with cannabis use​​.



    Objective: While social cognition is shown to be impaired in several mental disorders, the effects of cannabis on social cognition are still not clear. Past studies have used the multifaceted empathy test (MET) to study social cognition. This study aims to test the validity of the MET Spanish version and to evaluate the effects of cannabis use on social cognition.

    Methods: In total 116 participants from a Cannabis Social Club (CSC) completed the MET and the reading the mind in the eyes test (RMET) under the effects of cannabis and were compared to 86 university students (control group). Internal consistency and convergent validity were assessed. Cognitive empathy (CE) and emotional empathy (EE) were tested in both groups.

    Results: The MET CE scale shows low internal consistency, while the EE scale shows high internal consistency. Items showed similar difficulty for both groups. Cannabis users showed deficient overall emotional recognition, with reduced scores associated with positive stimuli. Overall scores for EE were similar for both groups, but the experimental group scored lower with negative stimuli when compared to controls.

    Conclusion: This study validates the MET Spanish version for its use in future studies. Results confirmed deficient emotional recognition in cannabis users and a dampened reaction to negative stimuli for the first time.


    Link to the study


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    Categories: Studies & papers , Cannabis
    Tags: subjective effects , psychopharmacology , social cognition , empathy , cannabis , scientific research , study , psychometrics