Transformative experience and social connectedness mediate the mood-enhancing effects of psychedelic use in naturalistic settings

Matthias Forstmann, Daniel A. Yudkin, Annayah M.B. Prosser, S. Megan Heller, Molly J. Crockett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Past research suggests that use of psychedelic substances such as LSD or psilocybin may have positive effects on mood and feelings of social connectedness. These psychological effects are thought to be highly sensitive to context, but robust and direct evidence for them in a naturalistic setting is scarce. In a series of field studies involving over 1,200 participants across six multiday mass gatherings in the United States and the United Kingdom, we investigated the effects of psychedelic substance use on transformative experience, social connectedness, and positive mood. This approach allowed us to test preregistered hypotheses with high ecological validity and statistical precision. Controlling for a host of demographic variables and the use of other psychoactive substances, we found that psychedelic substance use was significantly associated with positive mood—an effect sequentially mediated by self-reported transformative experience and increased social connectedness. These effects were particularly pronounced for those who had taken psychedelic substances within the last 24 h (compared to the last week). Overall, this research provides robust evidence for positive affective and social consequences of psychedelic substance use in naturalistic settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2338-2346
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume117
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 4 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Keywords

  • Mood
  • Psychedelic substances
  • Social connectedness
  • Transformative experiences

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Transformative experience and social connectedness mediate the mood-enhancing effects of psychedelic use in naturalistic settings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this