Spontaneous and deliberate creative cognition during and after psilocybin exposure

N. L. Mason*, K. P. C. Kuypers, J. T. Reckweg, F. Muller, D. H. Y. Tse, B. Da Rios, S. W. Toennes, P. Stiers, A. Feilding, J. G. Ramaekers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Creativity is an essential cognitive ability linked to all areas of our everyday functioning. Thus, finding a way to enhance it is of broad interest. A large number of anecdotal reports suggest that the consumption of psychedelic drugs can enhance creative thinking; however, scientific evidence is lacking. Following a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group design, we demonstrated that psilocybin (0.17mg/kg) induced a time- and construct-related differentiation of effects on creative thinking. Acutely, psilocybin increased ratings of (spontaneous) creative insights, while decreasing (deliberate) task-based creativity. Seven days after psilocybin, number of novel ideas increased. Furthermore, we utilized an ultrahigh field multimodal brain imaging approach, and found that acute and persisting effects were predicted by within- and between-network connectivity of the default mode network. Findings add some support to historical claims that psychedelics can influence aspects of the creative process, potentially indicating them as a tool to investigate creativity and subsequent underlying neural mechanisms. Trial NL6007; psilocybin as a tool for enhanced cognitive flexibility; https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/6007.

Original languageEnglish
Article number209
Number of pages13
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2021

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