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How psychedelic researchers’ self-admitted substance use and their association with psychedelic culture affect people’s perceptions of their scientific integrity and the quality of their research

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Abstract

Across three studies (total N = 952), we tested how self-admitted use of psychedelics and association with psychedelic culture affects the public’s evaluation of researchers’ scientific integrity and of the quality of their research. In Studies 1 and 2, we found that self-admitted substance use negatively affected people’s assessment of a fictitious researcher’s integrity (i.e. being unbiased, professional, and honest), but not of the quality of his research, or how much value and significance they ascribed to the findings. Study 3, however, found that an association with psychedelic culture (i.e. presenting work at a scientific conference that includes social activities stereotypically associated with psychedelic culture) negatively affected perceived research quality (e.g. less valid, true, unbiased). We further found that the latter effect was moderated by participants’ personal experience with psychedelic substances: only participants without such experience evaluated research quality more negatively when it was presented in a stereotyped context.

Forstmann, M., & Sagioglou, C. (2021). How psychedelic researchers’ self-admitted substance use and their association with psychedelic culture affect people’s perceptions of their scientific integrity and the quality of their research. Public understanding of science (Bristol, England), 30(3), 302–318. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662520981728

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