Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers ran a study that found that a single psychedelic experience increased a range of nonphysicalist beliefs, such as dualism, paranormal/spirituality, nonmammal and mammal consciousness, and superstition.

The magnitude of belief changes was associated with qualitative features of the experience. The results suggest that psychedelic experiences can lead to meaningful changes in beliefs.

Researchers analyzed data gathered between August 2020 and July 2021 on 2,374 people who said their beliefs changed after psychedelic experiences. Most were male and 43% said the experience was their first.

The beliefs were as varied as the participants. From Neuroscience News:

Examples of increases in nonphysicalist beliefs included increased belief in:

  • The mind is a different kind of existence, a spiritual way of being.
  • The universe is conscious.
  • The mind is immaterial and it works with the brain to generate our behavior.
  • Inanimate natural objects (e.g., rocks) are capable of having conscious experience.
  • There is a hidden or deeper purpose to life and all of existence about which many people are unaware.
  • There are hidden or deeper meanings to everyday events beyond both simple factual explanations and more complicated scientific explanations for understanding the world.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.

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