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Transformations Through Psychedelics: A Deep Dive into Personality, Motivations, and Experience

Article Title: “Perceptions of psychedelic personality change, determinants of use, setting, and drug moderation: Toward a holistic mode

Authors: Brandon Weiss, Chelsea E. Sleep, Nicholas M. Beller, David Erritzoe, and W. Keith Campbel

Publication Date: 2023

DOI: 10.1556/2054.2023.00291


In the realm of psychedelic research, understanding how these substances impact personality and the factors influencing their use is crucial. This study delves into the intricacies of psychedelic-induced personality changes, exploring the myriad ways these substances can reshape individuals’ perceptions of themselves and the world around them.

Study Overview

Conducted with over 200 participants, this study seeks to paint a broad picture of psychedelic experiences, focusing on perceived personality changes, motivations behind use, and the impact of setting and substance type. It aims to forge a comprehensive model that encapsulates the diverse outcomes of psychedelic experiences.

Key Findings

Personality Changes:

Many users report profound changes in their personality traits, including increased openness, emotional stability, and a deepened sense of connection to others and the environment.

Determinants of Use:

Curiosity, a desire for spiritual growth, and mental health improvement emerge as key motivators for individuals venturing into psychedelic experiences.

Influence of Setting and Substance:

The study highlights the significant role of the environment (setting) and the type of psychedelic used in shaping the nature and intensity of the experience. Positive settings are linked to more beneficial personality changes.

Qualitative Insights: 

Participants shared rich, open-ended accounts of their experiences, revealing themes like “Unitive Spiritual” and “Gratitude Absorption,” which underscore the complex and multifaceted nature of psychedelic-induced transformations.


These findings illuminate the profound and multifarious effects of psychedelics on personality, challenging and expanding our understanding of these substances. The study underscores the importance of context, both in terms of physical setting and psychological readiness, in mediating these experiences.


The research offers valuable insights for both individuals considering psychedelics for personal exploration and professionals in therapeutic settings. Understanding the factors that contribute to positive changes can guide safer and more effective use of these substances.

Potential Application

The nuanced understanding of how various elements interplay in psychedelic experiences could inform therapeutic practices, potentially leading to more personalised and effective treatments for a range of psychological conditions.


This study provides a pivotal step toward a holistic understanding of psychedelics, suggesting that the effects of these substances are far-reaching and deeply intertwined with the intricacies of individual personality, intentions, and context.



Weiss, B., Sleep, C. E., Beller, N. M., Erritzoe, D., & Campbell, W. K. (2023). Perceptions of psychedelic personality change, determinants of use, setting, and drug moderation: Toward a holistic model. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 7(3), 200-226.

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