Over 50 years ago psychedelic drugs were classed as schedule 1 substances. This caused a fifty year-long hiatus in psychedelic research. In just the last ten years momentum has picked up again and we’re now seeing a huge resurgence in the study of psychedelics. Scientists across the globe have committed to making these drugs the focal point of their research, fire branding the 21st century as the “psychedelic renaissance”.
Thanks to this, in just the last decade enormous progress has been made in improving our understanding of psychedelics. Cutting-edge research increasingly points to the myriad of therapeutic applications that are possible with psychedelics. We’ve seen evidence for the efficacy of psychedelics in treating psychiatric conditions1 such as alcohol addiction2, tobacco addiction3, and depression4, reducing end of life anxiety5, alleviating PTSD6 and even producing sustained positive effects on personality and psychological well-being7.
During this 50 year lull in psychedelic study, a whole new body of research on non-drug induced peak experiences emerged. The concept of “Flow” has been front and center to this. Flow is technically defined as an optimal state of consciousness in which we feel our best and we perform our best. It refers to those moments of rapt attention and total absorption when we get so focused on the task at hand that everything else seems to disappear. The sense of self vanishes, time dilates, and all aspects of performance, both mental and physical, are greatly amplified8. Flow is strongly correlated with improved motivation, skill development, performance, increased sense of meaning and heightened life satisfaction9.
The overarching aim of this study is twofold. First, it is to help improve our understanding of these substances so we can better advocate for their application as tools that can improve mental health and foster psychological well-being. Second, it is to improve our understanding of the variables that contribute to flow so that the state is more accessible for individuals who seek more flow in their work and lives.
Peak-experiences are strong, positive, emotional experiences that have been consistently associated with positive clinical outcomes10. These experiences can occur with or without drugs. Non-drug-induced peak-experiences include states like flow, awe, bliss, meditative states and trance states11. This study aims to identify the types of “set” and “setting” factors that are present and most influential in facilitating both drug-induced peak experiences and flow states (a non-drug-induced peak-experience).
The “set” and “setting” have been hypothesized to be the two crucial variables in determining the type of peak-experience an individual has12. “Set” refers to one’s mindset, expectations, mood, thoughts & preconceptions leading up to the experience and “setting” refers to the physical and social environment in which the experience unfolds.
However, less is known about the impact of the variables within “set” and “setting” and how they can affect the drug-induced peak-experience or flow state that an individual has. We hope to improve our understanding of how these “set” and “setting” variables impact peak-experiences so we can raise the safety, reliability, and quality of psychedelic usage and increase the consistency and ease with which individuals can enter into a Flow state.
If you’d like to be a study participant you just have to take this 10-minute long, multiple choice, online survey. We will ask you to briefly report on one or more of four possible experiences that you’ve had in the past:
You will then be asked to respond to a few questionnaires designed to assess the variables in the “set” and “setting” leading up to your peak-experience.
By taking this 10-minute survey you’ll be playing a serious role in helping us advance psychedelic and flow science.
Thanks for your time and help!