Dr. Matthias Forstmann is a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University’s Mind and Development Lab. He received his PhD in Social in Psychology from the University of Cologne in 2015. His research focuses on questions such as how people conceptualize minds, how they engage in magical thinking, and how use of psychedelic substances can affect social-psychological phenomena.
Psychedelics, Transformative Experiences, and Interpersonal Connectedness: Results from a Field Study
Using data from a large number of visitors of various music and arts festivals in the United States and the United Kingdom (Burning Man, Lightning in a Bottle, Nest, Latitude, Dirty Bird), we tested how recent use (i.e., in the past 24 hours or during the last week) of psychedelic substances such as psilocybin, LSD or mescaline can affect people’s mood, their feeling of connectedness with other humans beings, their generosity, their inclination to take others’ perspective, and whether they had an (epistemological) transformative experience. In our analyses, we statistically controlled for the use of various other substances, some of which revealed surprisingly negative effects, as well as common demographic variables. Results show that, in line with findings from clinical studies, use of psychedelic substances in a real-life setting can have acute positive effects–both on an individual and social level.