Natasha L Mason
Doctoral candidate

(Sub-)Acute Effects of Psilocybin on Creativity, Empathy and Satisfaction with Life

Creative thinking and empathy are crucial for everyday interactions and subjective well-being. This is emphasised by studies showing a reduction in these skills in populations where social interaction and subjective well-being is significantly compromised (e.g. depression). Anecdotal reports and recent studies suggest a single administration of psilocybin can enhance such processes and could therefore be a potential treatment. However, it has yet to be assessed how long effects last. Utilising a multi-modal study design, the present study found a time and construct-related differentiation of effects of psilocybin on creativity and empathy. Importantly, whereas acutely psilocybin decreased performance on these measures, persisting increases were seen sub-acutely. Thus, findings could suggest that psilocybin opens up a “window of opportunity” where therapeutic interventions could prove more effective. However, current findings also emphasise the importance to assess effects in different settings, with different doses, and times post-dosing, in order to thoroughly evaluate whether psilocybin may hold therapeutic value for treating stress-related mood disorders.

This research on psilocybin she will be presenting is part of the Beckley/Maastricht Programme.

Natasha Mason MSc, is a PhD student at the University Of Maastricht, Department of Neuropsychology & Psychopharmacology. She has a background in (neuro)psychology and pharmacy. Utilizing multimodal study designs, she is interested in elucidating the neurobiological and cognitive mechanisms of (psychedelic) drugs, with a particular focus on those which may hold therapeutic value.