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Can MDMA Change Sociopolitical Values? Insights From a Research Participant

      There has been a resurgence of interest in the use of psychoactive drugs, especially psychedelics, to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition to relieving symptoms, these drugs reportedly can also produce lasting changes in personality and political and religious views, including increased openness and more liberal, more compassionate, and less authoritarian points of view (
      • MacLean K.A.
      • Johnson M.W.
      • Griffiths R.R.
      Mystical experiences occasioned by the hallucinogen psilocybin lead to increases in the personality domain of openness.
      ,
      • Lebedev A.V.
      • Kaelen M.
      • Lövdén M.
      • Nilsson J.
      • Feilding A.
      • Nutt D.J.
      • Carhart-Harris R.L.
      LSD-induced entropic brain activity predicts subsequent personality change.
      ,
      • Nour M.M.
      • Evans L.
      • Carhart-Harris R.L.
      Psychedelics, personality and political perspectives.
      ,
      • Schmid Y.
      • Liechti M.E.
      Long-lasting subjective effects of LSD in normal subjects.
      ,
      • Erritzoe D.
      • Roseman L.
      • Nour M.M.
      • MacLean K.
      • Kaelen M.
      • Nutt D.J.
      • Carhart-Harris R.L.
      Effects of psilocybin therapy on personality structure.
      ,
      • Erritzoe D.
      • Smith J.
      • Fisher P.M.
      • Carhart-Harris R.
      • Frokjaer V.G.
      • Knudsen G.M.
      Recreational use of psychedelics is associated with elevated personality trait openness: Exploration of associations with brain serotonin markers.
      ,
      • Lyons T.
      • Carhart-Harris R.L.
      Increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarian political views after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.
      ). Yet, the psychological or neurobiological underpinnings of these changes are poorly understood. To what extent are these effects the result of expectancies and contextual factors? Which, if any, of the cognitive or emotional effects of the acute drug experience lead to lasting changes in values, beliefs, or personal priorities, and why do these changes tend to occur in the direction of openness and liberality? Further, can these drug effects shed light on how people acquire and hold beliefs in the first place?
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