Psychedelic Research Papers

Psychedelics as potential catalysts of scientific creativity and insight
This theory-building article (2022) proposes that the dream, hypnagogic and psychedelic states share common features that make them conducive to supporting some aspects of scientific creativity and examines the putative underlying neurophenomenological and cognitive processes involved. The psychedelic state may have the potential to enhance creativity as a result of phenomena like brain hyperconnectivity, meta-cognitive awareness and more.
Drug Science, Policy and Law
May 2022
Cited by 0
Brainwaves! Spontaneous and deliberate creative cognition during and after psilocybin exposure
This trial (n=60) assessed the effects of psilocybin (12mg/70kg) on measures of creative thinking. Psilocybin increased ratings of (spontaneous) creative insights while decreasing (deliberate) task-based creativity. Seven days after psilocybin, the number of novel ideas increased. It was found that the acute and persisting effects were predicted by within- and between-network connectivity of the default mode network.
Translational Psychiatry
March 2022
Cited by 0
Safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and subjective effects of 50, 75, and 100 µg LSD in healthy participants within a novel intervention paradigm: A proof-of-concept study
This trial (n=32) assessed the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and subjective effects of 50, 75, and 100 µg LSD in healthy adults within a novel intervention paradigm. Participants received 50 (n = 3), 75 (n = 7), 100 (n = 3) LSD, 50 µg followed by 75 µg LSD (n = 9) 1 week apart, or placebo followed by a 75 µg LSD (n = 10) 1 week apart. No serious adverse events were reported, This data indicates that LSD is safe and well-tolerated with mild adverse events reported.
Journal of Psychopharmacology
March 2022
Cited by 0
LSD and creativity: Increased novelty and symbolic thinking, decreased utility and convergent thinking
This double-blind placebo-controlled study (n=24) assessed the impact LSD (50μg) has on measures of creativity. Near peak drug effects, participants were given a number of creative tasks to complete. Creativity was then assessed by scoring creativity criteria, calculating divergent thinking and convergent thinking, computing semantic distances and searching for data-driven special features. Compared to placebo, LSD changed several creativity measurements pointing to pattern break, disorganization and meaning which seemed to fundamentally influence creative cognition and behaviour.
Journal of Psychopharmacology
February 2022
Cited by 0
Linkages between Psychedelics and Meditation in a Population-Based Sample in the United States
This survey (n=536) showcases a possible synergy between meditation and psychedelic use. Those who experienced ego dissolution also found meditation to be more effective, which also served as lowering the barrier to meditation and motivation to practice it. Those who meditated (about half of the original larger survey) also were more likely to use psychedelics and experience ego dissolution.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
Cited by 0
Microevidence for microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms: a double-blind placebo-controlled study of subjective effects, behavior, creativity, perception, cognition, and brain activity
This double-blind placebo-controlled preprint study (n=34) assessed the effects of microdosing psilocybin (0.5g dried mushrooms, about 0.9mg psilocybin) on subjective experience, behaviour, creativity, perception, cognition, and brain activity. Participants received two doses (psilocybin/placebo) which were administered separately, one week apart. Subjective effects were more intense for the active dose, while null effects or a trend towards cognitive were observed. Expectation effects may be, in part, responsible for the anecdotal benefits of microdosing.
Biorxiv
Cited by 0
Persisting effects of ayahuasca on empathy, creative thinking, decentering, personality, and well-being
This provisionally accepted study (n=40) explored the effects of ayahuasca on processes involved in stress-related psychopathologies. Volunteers attending an ayahuasca ceremony were given a series of questionnaires at baseline, the morning after and one week after the experience. Researchers found ingesting ayahuasca is associated with positive therapeutic outcomes.
Frontiers in Pharmacology
September 2021
Cited by 0
Might Microdosing Psychedelics Be Safe and Beneficial? An Initial Exploration
This diary study investigates the "safe and beneficial" use of psychedelics in small quantities (microdosing; 10 micrograms LSD) to improve positive moods by evaluating positive and negative emotional states using the PANAS checklist and written reports. The study showed that microdosing of a psychedelic in clinical and non-clinical populations improved health habits, increased energy, and improved work effectiveness. Furthermore, smaller samples demonstrated alleviation of symptoms in migraine headaches, traumatic brain injury, pre-menstrual syndromes (PMS), shingles, and other such conditions that have not been previously associated with psychedelic use.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
March 2019
Cited by 41
Microdosing psychedelics and its effect on creativity: Lessons learned from three double-blind placebo controlled longitudinal trials
This preprint of three double-blind placebo-controlled longitudinal experiments (n=175) investigated the effects of microdosing psilocybin (0.74 - 1.71mg) on creativity and found that it increased the originality of their ideas while generating novel applications for ordinary things (divergent thinking). However, it did not increase the number of novel ideas, or their ability to detect features that are common across multiple things (convergent thinking).
Psyarxiv
June 2021
Cited by 0
Sub-acute and long-term effects of ayahuasca on affect and cognitive thinking style and their association with ego dissolution
This longitudinal study (n=57) investigated the effects of ayahuasca and found improved convergent thinking/creativity, decreased ratings of depression and stress up to four weeks later. These changes were significantly correlated with the level of ego dissolution experienced during the acute trip/ceremony.
Psychopharmacology
August 2018
Cited by 54
Cannabis and Ecstasy/MDMA: Empirical measures of creativity in recreational users
This study compared the creativity levels of 15 recreational MDMA users, 15 cannabis users, and 15 controls. It found higher scores for cannabis users on one scale and self-rating of creativity on another scale for MDMA users. As this was just an observational study, nothing much about the creativity of all three groups can be said.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
March 2014
Cited by 29
Creativity and Psychoactive Substance Use: A Systematic Review
This systematic review (2017) examines 14 empirical studies and 5 case studies that investigated the relationship between artistic creativity and psychoactive substance use. The nature of this relationship is not clearly established, given that most studies had a very small sample size, unrepresentative samples, overreliance on self-report, non-standardized assessment tools, and speculative research questions. Results indicate that psychoactive substances may change the quality of artistic work even amongst ordinary individuals by modifying functions related to creativity (enhancing experiences and sensitivity and loosening conscious processes), but the correlation of increased psychoactive substance use amongst artists may alternatively be a form of self-medication which stabilizes an unstable mode of functioning that is related to their creativity.
International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
October 2016
Cited by 12
Spontaneous and deliberate creative cognition during and after psilocybin exposure
This double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subjects study (n=60) investigated the effects of psilocybin (11.9 mg/70kg) on creativity in healthy participants, with respect to acute and persisting changes in convergent and divergent thinking in relation to restructuralization of Default Mode Network (DMN) connectivity. Although subjects felt more insightful under the acute psychedelic state, their ability to generate ideas and associations in a goal-directed manner was impaired. However, 7 days after psilocybin administration, participants generated a higher quantity of novel ideas for uses of an everyday object. Decreased integrity of the DMN under the acute state was the strongest predictor of subjective insightfulness, acute decrease in scores of originality, and a long-term increase in the generation of novel ideas.
Translational Psychiatry
April 2021
Cited by 0
Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing
This self-blinding experiment (n=191) finds that the placebo and microdosing groups both experienced similar improvements in self-rated psychological well-being and cognitive function (e.g. mood, energy, creativity) after four weeks. This study provides more evidence that microdosing benefits can be attributed to expectancy (placebo) effects.
eLife
March 2021
Cited by 6
Turn On, Tune In, Drop In: Psychedelics, Creativity and Entrepreneurship
This review paper (2020) for a management audience looks at (the history of) psychedelics and creativity.
American Journal of Management
October 2020
Cited by 0
Positive psychology in the investigation of psychedelics and entactogens: A critical review
This review looked at 77 studies with psychedelics and entactogens, to see how their effects relate to concepts of positive psychology. Psychedelics and entactogens showed positive effects e.g. on well-being, prosocial behaviours, empathy, creativity, personality, values and mindfulness. However, the authors stress that more longitudinal data on positive and adverse effects is needed.
Neuropharmacology
June 2018
Cited by 30
Out of the box: A psychedelic model to study the creative mind
This hypothesis article (2018) proposes a psychedelic model to study the creative mind. Kuypers goes into depth on the brain structures and processes influenced by psychedelics.
Medical Hypotheses
June 2018
Cited by 8
Jekyll and Hyde Revisited: Paradoxes in the Appreciation of Drug Experiences and Their Effects on Creativity
This commentary article (2002) imagines the two sides of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as two parts of a psychedelic experience. This is applied to artists in this somewhat esoteric article.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
September 2011
Cited by 17
Self-Reported Drug Use and Creativity: (Re)Establishing Layperson Myths
This survey study (n=787) found that Openness to experience was the strongest predictor of creativity (four measures), but self-reported drug use did have some (positive) effect on creativity.
Imagination, Cognition and Personality
October 2014
Cited by 3
Breakdown or Breakthrough? A History of European Research into Drugs and Creativity
This literature review (1999) looks at European research with (psychedelics) drugs on creativity between 1940-1970. A disinhibiting effect of psychedelics (allowing creative breakthroughs) is proposed.
Journal of Creative Behavior
December 1999
Cited by 29
Updating the dynamic framework of thought: Creativity and psychedelics
The theory-building paper (2020) argues that the psychedelic state may facilitate creative generation and discusses the neurocognitive states in which creative thought takes place.
NeuroImage
June 2020
Cited by 15
The Meaning-Enhancing Properties of Psychedelics and Their Mediator Role in Psychedelic Therapy, Spirituality, and Creativity
This perspective article (2018) looks at the evidence for meaning-enhancing as a mediator in psychedelic therapy, spirituality and outcomes on creativity.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
March 2018
Cited by 48
LSD and Creativity
This literature review (1989) looks at creativity and LSD. This is mostly done through the lens of artists who painted over 250 works.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
January 1989
Cited by 40
Sub-Acute Effects of Psilocybin on Empathy, Creative Thinking, and Subjective Well-Being
This open-label study (n=55) found that a high-dose of psilocybin at a retreat led to more divergent thinking and emotional empathy the day after (n=50). At seven days (n=22) enhancement of convergent thinking and well-being persisted.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
January 2019
Cited by 36
Psychedelic Agents in Creative Problem-Solving: A Pilot Study
This is the first known study (1973, n=27) in which creativity under influence of psychedelics (mescaline, 200mg) was being studied in professionals and within a very positive/guiding setting.
Psychological Reports
August 1966
Cited by 165
Psychedelic Drugs and Creativity
This comprehensive review (1985) of the literature on psychedelics and creativity spans most of the research that had been done before the doors of perception were shut for 40 years.
Psychological Reports
October 1985
Cited by 58
Psychedelics and Creativity: a Review of the Quantitative Literature
This review (2015, pre-print) of the psychedelics literature on creativity argues that creativity is too elusive/inconsistent a measure that is confounded by other changes.
Unpublished
June 2015
Cited by 21
Enhancement of Creative Expression and Entoptic Phenomena as After-Effects of Repeated Ayahuasca Ceremonies
This open-label study (n=40) on those who participated in a two-week ayahuasca retreat found that they had more creative (divergent, 'high originality', 'phosphenes') responses after the retreat. The participants, however, also had a higher baseline on this creativity measure.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
August 2012
Cited by 71
Microdosing psychedelics: personality, mental health, and creativity differences in microdosers
This study used a questionnaire (n=909, 65% of which microdosed) which included the Unusual Uses Tasks as a proxy for divergent creativity. They found that people who microdosed psychedelics (mostly LSD (65%) and psilocybin (28%)) were more creative (p < 0.001, r = 0.15).
Journal of Psychopharmacology
January 2019
Cited by 79
The Associations of Naturalistic Classic Psychedelic Use, Mystical Experience, and Creative Problem Solving
This study (n=68) found that having a mystical experience during psychedelic use is correlated with quicker completion times on a measure of creativity (completion time of Duncker's Candle Problem). The number of mystical experiences was not correlated with completion time.
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
August 2016
Cited by 27

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Find all relevant psychedelic research papers in our ever-growing database. Here we cover and connect the latest research and seminal papers. From early open-label psychedelic studies with healthy volunteers to large-scale double-blind placebo-controlled trials.

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