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Type: Journal article
Title: Psychedelics alter metaphysical beliefs
Author: Timmermann, C.
Kettner, H.
Letheby, C.
Roseman, L.
Rosas, F.E.
Carhart-Harris, R.L.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2021; 11(1):22166-1-22166 -13
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 2045-2322
Statement of
Christopher Timmermann, Hannes Kettner, Chris Letheby, Leor Roseman, Fernando E. Rosas, and Robin L. Carhart-Harris
Abstract: Can the use of psychedelic drugs induce lasting changes in metaphysical beliefs? While it is popularly believed that they can, this question has never been formally tested. Here we exploited a large sample derived from prospective online surveying to determine whether and how beliefs concerning the nature of reality, consciousness, and free-will, change after psychedelic use. Results revealed signifcant shifts away from ‘physicalist’ or ‘materialist’ views, and towards panpsychism and fatalism, post use. With the exception of fatalism, these changes endured for at least 6 months, and were positively correlated with the extent of past psychedelic-use and improved mental-health outcomes. Path modelling suggested that the belief-shifts were moderated by impressionability at baseline and mediated by perceived emotional synchrony with others during the psychedelic experience. The observed belief-shifts post-psychedelic-use were consolidated by data from an independent controlled clinical trial. Together, these fndings imply that psychedelic-use may causally infuence metaphysical beliefs—shifting them away from ‘hard materialism’. We discuss whether these apparent efects are contextually independent.
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021 Open Access Tis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-01209-2
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Appears in Collections:Philosophy publications

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