A dose of creativity: an integrative review of the effects of serotonergic psychedelics on creativity

Miguel Ângelo Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This integrative review was conducted to summarize the knowledge pertaining to the effects that serotonergic psychedelics can have on creativity, a multi-dimensional construct referring to the ability to produce original and valuable artifacts. Psychedelics, which have long been hailed as substances that can enhance the creative process in their users, have experienced a recent resurgence in research, allowing the opportunity to better understand this relationship. To this end, I reviewed literature which attempted to study the effects of serotonergic psychedelics on creativity through psychometric methods. A total of eleven studies were reviewed, with four psychedelic compounds represented. Every study assessed components and subcomponents of divergent and convergent thinking, with only one instance of product assessment. Results suggest that convergent thinking may increase during the post-acute phases of the drugs' intake, fostering the capacity for development of previously generated ideas. However, this evidence may be circumstantial based on the low number of studies available, small sample sizes, overall lack of randomized controlled trials, and significant methodological limitations throughout most studies. Potential mechanisms underlying these effects are discussed, along with the current state of the research and implications for future studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Convergent thinking
  • Creativity
  • Divergent thinking
  • Hallucinogens
  • Psychedelics

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