Transformative experience and social connectedness mediate the mood-enhancing effects of psychedelic use in naturalistic settings

Matthias Forstmann, Daniel Yudkin, Annayah Prosser, S Megan Heller, Molly Crockett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


For millennia, naturally occurring psychedelic substances have been used by indigenous cultures in medicinal or spiritual contexts. Recent scientific investigations hint at the potential for these substances in the treatment of affective disorders, yet scientific inquiries into their psychological effects remain scarce. Here we present findings from a large field study of mood-related effects of recent psychedelic substance use in naturalistic settings. We found that recent use of psychedelics was associated with increased positive mood through experience of personal transformation and feelings of connectedness to others. Our findings validate recent reports of mood-enhancing effects of psychedelic substances in laboratory settings and suggest that these effects manifest at least in part through changes in the experience of social relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2338-2346
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
Early online date21 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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