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Psychedelic Agents in Creative Problem-Solving: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Based on the frequently reported similarities between creative and psychedelic (drug-induced, consciousness-expansion) experiences, a preliminary study was conducted to explore the effects of psychedelic agents (LSD-25, mescaline) on creative problem-solving ability. Twenty-seven professionally employed males were given a single psychedelic experience in 1 of 7 small groups (ns = 3 or 4) following extensive selection and preparatory procedures. This drug-induced problem-solving session was carefully structured with particular focus on establishing Ss’ expectancies and a psychosocial milieu conducive to creative activity. Tentative findings based on tests of creativity, on subjective reports and self ratings, and on the utility of problem solutions suggested that, if given according to this carefully structured regimen, psychedelic agents seem to facilitate creative problem-solving, particularly in the “illumination phase.” The results also suggest that various degrees of increased creative ability may continue for at least some weeks subsequent to a psychedelic problem-solving session.

Harman, W. W., McKim, R. H., Mogar, R. E., Fadiman, J., & Stolaroff, M. J. (1966). Psychedelic Agents in Creative Problem-Solving: A Pilot Study. Psychological Reports, 19, 211-227.
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