A new study has discovered that individuals under the influence of psilocybin tend to have more original and profound thoughts. However, cognitive tests on creative ability conducted have shown that they score lower in the short term, with findings indicating that psilocybin, which is the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, improves an individual’s creative ability in the long term.
The research gathered proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and functional magnetic resonance imaging data. which offered new insights into the basic neurobiological mechanisms linked to creativity.
Maastricht University PhD candidate Natasha Mason, who also happens to be the lead researcher of the study, stated that creativity is a necessary cognitive ability that is often associated with all aspects of our everyday life as it enables individuals to adapt to an environment that is always changing, while also allowing them to find different ways to solve issues. She added that the inability to be creative has often been linked to psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression, as people can get stuck in maladaptive thought patterns that accelerate negative behaviors.
Decades ago, in the ‘60s, researchers discovered evidence that LSD, another psychedelic substance, could improve creative problem-solving. Additionally, there was evidence that the LSD-induced psychedelic state could also harm an individual’s creativity.
Mason explained that in the past, various reports had been published suggesting that ingesting a psychedelic substance such as psilocybin and LSD could improve an individual’s creative ability.
For their research, the scientists recruited 60 healthy participants and assessed two types of deliberate creativity: divergent and convergent thinking. While the former represents the ability to come up with different solutions to an issue that has several possible answers, the latter represents the ability to come up with one optimal solution to an issue.
The researchers discovered that, while both types of creativity appeared to be hindered while the participants were in the psychedelic state, psilocybin brought about lasting improvements in divergent thinking when the individual wasn’t under the influence of the psychedelic substance. Additionally, they found that one week after psilocybin had been administered, participants who did not receive placebo came up with new ideas for how to use everyday objects.
The researchers also discovered that the changes in creativity that had been induced by psilocybin were linked to connectivity patterns in the default mode network, which is involved with spontaneous thinking, imagination and daydreaming, among others.
The study was reported in the “Translational Psychiatry” journal.
What isn’t in dispute within the research community is the potential of psychedelics such as psilocybin to treat a variety of mental health conditions, and companies such as Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (OTCQB: CLXPF) have made progress in their quest to develop an anti-depression medication from psilocybin.
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