OPEN Foundation

Day: 20 October 2016

Creativity and Psychoactive Substance Use: A Systematic Review


The role of psychoactive substance use in the research of artistic creation and creativity is a long-standing topic. Ever since the discovery of LSD, researchers have examined the relationship between the effects of chemical substances and the artistic creative process. The goal of the present study was to systematically review all published empirical publications and case reports in refereed journals that focus on the relationship between psychoactive substances and creativity/creative artistic process. A total of 19 studies were identified that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Results were difficult to summarize because of the different study questions asked, the diverse methods used, the different samples applied, and the various substances examined. The general results suggest that there is an association between creativity and substance use. However, the studies were unable to show that substance use directly contributed to the growth of creativity or facilitated creative artistic process. It is concluded that specific skills may be subject to change as a consequence of substance use, and consequently may have an effect on the style of creation.

Iszáj, F., Griffiths, M. D., & Demetrovics, Z. (2016). Creativity and Psychoactive Substance Use: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-15. 10.1007/s11469-016-9709-8

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Ecstatic Landscapes: The Manifestation of Psychedelic Art

“Psychedelic art” can be defined as artwork manifested in the context of the ingestion of LSD-type drugs and related substances. There is a long history of such work dating back to ancient times (picturing mushrooms and other plants with psychedelic effects) as well as more recent anecdotal first-person accounts and various collections of psychological data resulting from experiments and interviews. One such collection includes the studies by Krippner of over 200 artists, writers, and musicians who referred to their artistic productions as “psychedelic” because they had some connection with their occasional or frequent use of these substances. Although there were no commonalities characterizing all of their paintings, films, poems, novels, songs, or other works, several frequent themes were noted following content analysis of the interview reports. The results of this group of studies, as well as those of more structured explorations, attests to the importance of this topic for humanistic psychology with its emphasis upon creativity, human potential, and exploring the wide range of human experience.
Krippner, S. (2016). Ecstatic Landscapes: The Manifestation of Psychedelic Art. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 0022167816671579.
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