How psychedelics affect your creativity
Going way back to the 1960s, there have been countless artists, musicians and scientists who have advocated the use of psychedelics for creativity.
Studies on the effect of psychedelics on our brains have become increasingly common, here's a round-up of the latest discoveries on how they can affect the neural mechanisms that make us creative...
THEY CAN BOOST COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY
In short, psychedelics can increase the brain’s ability to consider a variety of scenarios (past, present and future) dynamically and rapidly. This is crucial to creative thinking, and problem solving, according to a 2022 paper on Psychedelics as potential catalysts of scientific creativity and insight.
IMPACT ON DEFAULT MODE NETWORK (DMN)
The DMN is an interconnected group of regions in the brain associated with introspective functions - such as self-reflection, and self-criticism. A 2022 paper, titled Default Mode Network Modulation by Psychedelics: A Systematic Review, suggests that psychedelics can disrupt the activity of the DMN, leading to more open, freer conversations between brain regions that are normally separate.
Entropic brain theory (conceived by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College, and neuroscientist Karl Friston) relates to the levels of disorder in the mind caused by psychedelics. In the 2014 study that formed this theory, it was suggested that psychedelics create a state of consciousness similar to what we experience in early childhood: looking at everything in the world around us with awe and wonder. Perfect for creativity.
VISUALISATION & IMAGINATION
As anyone who has tried psychedelics will attest, they are particularly powerful when it comes to stimulating the imagination. Visualisation and the boundless possibilities of our imagination are considered key aspects of creativity by a variety of scientific experts.
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