May 21st, 2022

Episode #53

OF THE PSYCHEDELIC LEADERSHIP PODCAST

Can Psychedelics Ignite Spontaneous Insight & Creative Cognition? with Natasha Mason, Ph.D

Natasha Mason and I discuss one of the first double-blind, placebo-controlled studies directly exploring psychedelic and creative cognition. 

Divergent thinking is being able to adapt to your situation. And humans are exceptionally good at this, in daily life, we're adapting all the time.
Natasha mason, ph.d

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About This Episode:

Creativity and specifically creative thinking is being called the most important skillset to cultivate for leaders of our time. 

When I first started coming across statements like this, I started asking myself, what exactly is creative thinking, how do we define it and how do we learn to cultivate it? And does research show that psychedelics can help us to think more creatively? It turns out that there’s very little research that has been done exploring psychedelics and creativity. 

There have been a couple of published papers that have influenced my thinking around this topic, including Natasha Mason, Ph.D., who’s my guest on the show today, and the paper is titled Spontaneous and deliberate creative cognition during and after psilocybin exposure – which is one of the first double-blind, placebo-controlled studies directly exploring psychedelic and creative cognition. 

Natasha Mason Ph.D., is a post-doc at Maastricht University, Dept of Psychopharmacology. She has a background in (neuro)psychology and pharmacy. Utilizing multimodal study designs, her current research assesses drug-induced neuroadaptations and their influence on affect, behavior, and cognition.

As you listen to our conversation I just want to encourage you to remember that you are creative by definition of being alive. And that being creative is your birthright. And a lot of people still have old beliefs, these are old myths about creativity, and right now we are being called to think bigger – because as Einstein said we can’t solve our problems at the same level of thinking that created them.

Core Themes

Explored in this episode:
  • Creativity
  • Creative cognition
  • Creative insight
  • Creative process
  • Creativity defined
  • Psilocybin
  • Scientific Research

Links &

useful resources
  • Updating the dynamic framework of thought: Creativity and psychedelics
  • Spontaneous and deliberate creative cognition during and after psilocybin exposure
  • Psychedelics as potential catalysts of scientific creativity and insight
  • FREE 8-DAY Microdosing course
  • 4 MUSIC PLAYLISTS FOR PSYCHEDELIC JOURNEYS & BEYOND

Download My Free Guide to Psychedelic & Plant Medicine Integration

PSYCHEDELIC PODCAST

Episode Transcript

My name is Laura Dawn, and you’re listening to episode #53 of the Psychedelic Leadership podcast featuring my conversation with Natasha Mason, who’s at the forefront of researching psychedelics and creativity.

In your own experience, on your own psychedelic journeys, do you find that you have more meaningful insights or more spontaneous creative insights , those aha moments that have left a lasting impression on your life? 

I know I certainly have, some of which have completely changed the course of my life. 

Creativity, and specifically creative thinking is being called the most important skillset to cultivate for leaders of our time. 

When I first started coming across statements like this, I started asking myself, what exactly is creative thinking, how do we define it and how do we learn to cultivate it? 

And does research show that psychedelics can help us to think more creatively? 

I mean, I know psychedelics have certainly helped me become more creative, and we don’t have to look very far in our culture to witness the multitude of ways that psychedelics and sacred plant medicines have spurred creativity in our culture. 

But how do we measure that? And as it turns out, there’s very little research that has been done exploring psychedelics and creativity. 

Because if you think about it, research on psychedelics on it’s own hard enough, same with creativity – they are both just so multifaceted, and combining them makes for a really interesting exploration. 

Because creativity is super hard to pin down and concretise and same with psychedelics. 

But there have been a couple of published papers that have influenced my thinking around this topic, including Natasha Mason’s, PhD, who’s my guest on the show today, and he paper is titled Spontaneous and deliberate creative cognition during and after psilocybin exposure – which is one of the first double-blind, placebo-controlled studies directly exploring psychedelic and creative cognition. 

Natasha Mason PhD, is a post-doc at Maastricht University, Dept of Psychopharmacology. She has a background in (neuro)psychology and pharmacy. Utilizing multimodal study designs, her current research assesses drug-induced neuroadaptations and their influence on affect, behavior, and cognition.

And it was fun to discover in this conversation that another paper by a mutual friend Manesh Girn called Updating the dynamic framework of thought: Creativity and psychedelics – influenced both of our paths quite significantly. And I interviewed Manesh Grin all the way back at episode #5 – still one of my favorite conversations called this is your brain on psychedelics, and it was because of this paper that I decided to go back to graduate school to get a masters in science in creativity studies and change leadership, which, I’m thrilled to announce, that I only have 1 class left until I graduate. Hallelujah. 

And I’ve been focusing my degree on the intersection between psychedelics, creativity and leadership, and so you’ll hear me share some of that work I’ve been doing throughout this episode as well. 

And so it was really nice to be able to have conversations with people like Natasha Mason and Manesh Girn who have also spent a lot of time thinking about this. 

And actually, Manesh just sent me a link on whatsapp the other day as a new paper just got released Psychedelics as potential catalysts of scientific creativity and insight – led by Sam Gandy, in case you want to check that out as well, fresh off the press and I’ll include all of these links to these resources at lauradawn.co/53 

Now, before we dive in, I just want to encourage you to remember that you are creative by definition of being alive. And that being creative is your birthright. And a lot of people still have old beliefs, these are old myths about creativity, and right now we are being called to think bigger – because as Einstein said we can’t solve our problems at the same level of thinking that created them. 

And we are collectively facing some really major challenges. And being at the forefront of creative problem solving, leadership and psychedelics, I’ve really applied what I’ve been learning in graduate school to help create solutions to the challenges we face, 

Many of us have received so many wonderful benefits from ceremony and sacred medicines.

Many people have looked for ways to support give back to Indigenous communities, but weren’t sure how to easily make a donation or where their money would actually go.

And now I’m helping to steward the launch of Grow Medicine in collaboration with the Indigenous medicine conservation fund. 

And Grow Medicine is an easy-to-use donation-based platform to support plant medicine conservation, Indigenous sovereignty and biocultural diversity.  

Starting on May 31st, you can make a donation directly to Indigenous-led initiatives as a way to step towards being in right relationship with the traditional knowledge holders of these medicines. 

It’s easy and done in three simple steps

  1. Head to GrowMedicine.com
  2. Select the keystone medicine you wish to directly support that has enriched your life (E.g. Ayahuasca, Peyote, Iboga, Mushrooms, or Toad) 
  3. Pick your donation amount – and we encourage you to hit “make this a monthly donation”

Your donation goes towards Indigenous-led initiatives that are strengthening their communities in their efforts to conserve keystone plant medicines and traditional knowledge that they rely on for their healing and cultural survival.

And we’re calling in support to help amplify this message on launch. You can go to www.growmedicine.com/support to sign up and there’s so much awesome educational content on growmedicine.com as well.

Natasha Mason, Ph.D

Natasha Mason PhD

BIOGRAPHY

Natasha Mason PhD, is a post-doc at Maastricht University, Dept of Psychopharmacology. She has a background in (neuro)psychology and pharmacy. Utilizing multimodal study designs, her current research assesses drug-induced neuroadaptations and their influence on affect, behavior, and cognition.

Featured Music

This Episode of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called “Be Like Water” by Mary Isis

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About Laura Dawn

Through her signature Mastermind Programs and Plant Medicine Retreats, Laura Dawn weaves together science with ancient wisdom. She teaches business and thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation, fostering emotional resiliency and unlocking new depths to our creative potential.