brain psychedelics consciousness

Psychedelics change our conscious experience of the world – that is part of their attraction. Now a new study out of John Hopkins Medicine has analysed data on attributions of consciousness to other animals and innate objects by those using psychedelics and how this changes over time.

The study analysed data from 1,606 people who had had a belief-changing psychedelic experience. What they noticed was a large increase in attributions of consciousness to other animals, such as insects, but also to plants, inanimate natural objects, and inanimate manmade objects. Not surprisingly the largest consciousness attribution was for animals, e.g. 57% attributed consciousness to insects compare to only 15% with inanimate manmade objects.

What is surprising is that these changes persisted over time with the average experience being 8 years previously. This shows that part of the experience of these psychedelics and in line with descriptions of the impacts (of the world coming to life) is related to attributions of consciousness.

Of note is that this can change with a single psychedelic experience!

Sandeep M. Nayak, Roland R. Griffiths.
A Single Belief-Changing Psychedelic Experience Is Associated With Increased Attribution of Consciousness to Living and Non-living Entities
Frontiers in Psychology, 2022; 13
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.852248

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