Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Creative Studies, M.S.


Center for Studies in Creativity


Dr. Susan Keller-Mathers


Psychedelics are extremely multifaceted and complex hallucinogenic compounds that induce an altered state of consciousness and can have a wide range of effects. The outcomes of one’s psychedelic experience are largely dependent on what’s known as “set and setting.” The purpose of this project is to make an argument that the lens through which we look at and explore psychedelics matters. Currently the primary lens through which Western culture is exploring exploring psychedelics is through the lens of reducing mental illness. When we look at the existing scientific research that focuses on psychedelics as a treatment for mental illness, and we re-read this literature through the lens of deeply understanding creativity research, one can make a strong argument that the same reasons that psychedelics help to treat depression or addiction, for example, are the same underlying mechanisms for which psychedelics can help to foster greater creative thinking.

This project makes a case that despite the lack of scientific research explicitly exploring the connection between psychedelics and creativity, we can start to highlight and connect hidden dots that make an argument that psychedelics can indeed enhance various aspects of creativity. This project specifically explores how psychedelics relate to the 4 P’s of Creativity. Through this project and the review of the existing literature, I came to understand that the very core overlap between psychedelics and creativity is a mode of cognition called unconstrained cognition, strengthening my understanding of how psychedelic experiences can support the multifaceted nature of creativity.

I believe this to be the next frontier in psychedelic research because it’s essentially the second half of the same equation of mental health. I consider the curriculum I am developing to be like a helpful roadmap for both psychedelic preparation and integration, specifically for leaders who want to not only develop their leadership skills but who also want to develop their capacities to think more creatively.