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.


“Our creativity is challenged daily when facing new situations asking for novel solutions. Creativity, a multicomponent construct includes flexible divergent and rigid convergent thinking. Psychedelic drugs like psilocybin can enhance creativity and affect state of mind (mood, empathy, openness). Of note, flexible thinking is disturbed in psychopathological conditions like anxiety disorders and depression and preliminary findings have shown psychedelics to be efficacious in the treatment of those conditions. The question how psychedelics induce this state of enhanced flexible thinking remains to be answered and investigating the neurobiology underlying this phenomenon will not only help in understanding why psychedelics are of use in the therapeutic setting but also in other settings where flexible thinking is challenged. A model including neuronal networks, neurotransmitters and personal factors playing a role in this process will be proposed which can be put to the test by means of placebo-controlled pharmaco-imaging studies in healthy volunteers.”

Author: Kim P. C. Kuypers


Divergent thinking is what is stimulated/enhanced during a psychedelic state, Kuypers also states that it’s the subcomponent of creativity that we most need in our normal life.

“Being able to come up with alternative solutions to a problem is one aspect of creativity which is called (flexible) divergent thinking. It is different from (rigid) convergent thinking which is about finding the best solution to a problem. Divergent thinking has been shown to be a more useful estimate of creative thoughts in daily life than convergent thinking”

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