Discover magazine reports on a study published in the Journal of psychopharmacology in which volunteers were administered a single high dose of psilocybin ( the active ingredient in psychoactive or magic mushrooms).
The study found a long lasting change in personality in these individuals. Specifically, to openness, one of the terms psychologists use to describe aspects of a persons temperament1.
This quality is generally defined as openness to new ideas or experiences, awareness of feelings in the self and others, and is strongly tied to creativity and aesthetic appreciation.
Researchers found that the participants who found themselves having a ‘mystical experience’2 during the mushroom trip scored significantly higher on the openness scale than those who did not.
Interestingly, this change in personality remained more than 1 year afterwards and is thought to be permanent.
The authors of the study suggest that the findings may offer a specific role for psilocybin and mystical-type experiences in adult personality change, and in treatment of medical conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Now, although I may have one or two mystical experiences under my belt, none of them3 have been shroom assisted.
I have, however, looked after many younger people presenting to our emergency department during their own fungal trippings, and I can definitely confirm a large increase in openness……although it was more anatomical than psychological.
- The five broad domains of personality are: Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. [↩]
- pshychologists define a mystical experience as: one in which a person experiences a sense of unity with the world and other people; feelings of blessedness and sacredness; a sense of inner presence or divine force; and the feeling that what is perceived is “more real” than ordinary reality. [↩]
- although I did feel really, really weird once after a mushroom pie from the hospital cafeteria. [↩]