Creativity and empathy are crucial ingredients for well-being and positive everyday interactions. We know this because of the many past studies that have shown how these two skills are reduced when well-being is compromised (i.e., major depression). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The present study, which took place in the Netherlands, and was approved by the Ethics Review Committee of Psychology and Neuroscience, examined the sub-acute effects of a psilocybin-based tea on creativity, empathy, and well-being. Study participants were tasked with completing tests of creative thinking and empathy as well as rating their subjective satisfaction with life on three occasions: before ingesting psilocybin (n=55), the morning after (n=50), and seven days after (n=22). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The results found that psilocybin enhanced divergent thinking and emotional empathy the morning after use. Further, enhancements in convergent thinking, valence-specific emotional empathy, and subjective well-being persisted after seven days.
While these findings are interesting and make a worthy addition to the literature, they should be taken with a grain of salt. By the end of the study period, only 22 participants remained for follow-up questioning, with the other 33 dropping out. This presents an “attrition bias” that is common in many studies of this kind.