Monday, October 03, 2011

The Secular Buddhist - Episode 84: Katherine MacLean - Psilocybin and Openness

Very cool podcast from The Secular Buddhist. A recent study demonstrated that a single use of psilocybin mushrooms can produce lasting and positive personality changes. The full link for the research article is below, along with some other cool links.

Episode 84 :: Katherine MacLean :: Psilocybin and Openness

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Katherine MacLean

Katherine MacLean speaks with us about a new study on the effects of the psychoactive drug psilocybin on the personality trait of Openness.

Hi, everyone. This week as with last week, we're enjoying the benefits of the kindness of others in sharing their work in a very timely fashion. I was very happy to get an email a few days ago from our friend Katherine MacLean at Johns Hopkins with preview of a new study that was scheduled for release this week. We were able to get together and talk about the study, some of the correlaries with meditation practice, and get this episode complete and to you within a day or so of the press release.

The study itself brings up some interesting questions: do the causal conditions of our life-changing experiences matter, if it harms no one and is positively transformative? What are those changes in personality, do they last, and how do we know they're more than just self-reported impressions?

Katherine MacLean grew up in Connecticut and received her bachelor's degree at Dartmouth College in the woods of New Hampshire. After a two-year stint recording brain activity in rhesus monkeys, she transitioned to studying primates who could talk about their subjective experiences: humans.

During her graduate studies at the University of California, Davis, she worked with Ron Mangun on studies of visual attention and with Clifford Saron on the Shamatha Project - a longitudinal study of changes in behavior and brain function during intensive meditation training. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology in the fall of 2009 and subsequently joined the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit within the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow.

"The real world is still always waiting for you. It would like you to show up." -- Katherine MacLean

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