Cognitive Effects of Psychedelics

This article breaks down the subjective cognitive effects of the psychedelic experience into simple and easy to understand descriptions with accompanying image replications. This is done without resorting to metaphor, analogy, or personal trip reports.

These descriptions are not specific to any particular substance but are applicable to the effects which commonly occur in various forms under the influence of almost any psychedelic compound. This includes, but is not limited to, both classical and research chemical psychedelics, such as:

LSD, Psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, Ayahuasca, Mescaline, 5-MeO-MiPT, 2C-B, LSA, AL-LAD, ALD-52, 1P-LSD, 2C-B-Fly, 2C-C, 2C-D, 2C-E, 2C-P, 4-AcO-DMT, 4-HO-MET, 4-HO-MiPT, 5-MeO-DMT, DPT, and DOC.

The article begins with a description of the simpler effects and works its way up towards more complex experiences as it progresses. Individual effects are also summarized with a link to their full article.


Cognitive Enhancements

Cognitive enhancements are any subjective effect which increases or raises the intensity of an aspect of a person's cognition.

Analysis enhancement

Analysis enhancement is a perceived improvement of a person's overall ability to logically process information or creatively analyze concepts, ideas, and scenarios. This effect can lead to a deep state of contemplation which often results in an abundance of new and insightful ideas. It can give the person a perceived ability to better analyze concepts and problems in a manner which allows them to reach new conclusions, perspectives, and solutions which would have been otherwise difficult to conceive of. Although this effect will often result in deep states of introspection, in other cases it can produce states which are not introspective but instead result in a deep analysis of the exterior world, both taken as a whole and as the things which comprise it. This can result in a perceived abundance of insightful ideas and conclusions with powerful themes pertaining to what is often described as "the bigger picture". These ideas generally involve (but are not limited to) insight into philosophy, science, spirituality, society, culture, universal progress, humanity, loved ones, the finite nature of our lives, history, the present moment, and future possibilities. Analysis enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as stimulation, personal bias suppression, conceptual thinking, and thought connectivity. Although it is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of stimulant and nootropic compounds, it also occurs in a more powerful although less consistent form under the influence of psychedelics such as certain LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Anxiety

Full article: Anxiety
Anxiety is the experience of negative feelings of apprehension, worry, and general unease. These feelings can range from subtle and ignorable to intense and overwhelming enough to trigger panic attacks or feelings of impending doom. Anxiety is often accompanied by nervous behaviour such as restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and muscular tension. Psychoactive substance-induced anxiety can be caused as an inescapable effect of the drug itself, by a lack of experience with the substance or its intensity, as an enhancement of a pre-existing state of mind, or by the experience of negative hallucinations. Anxiety is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as depression and irritability. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as cannabinoids, psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. However, it can also occur during the withdrawal symptoms of GABAergic depressants and during stimulant comedowns.

Creativity enhancement

Creativity enhancement is a perceived increase in one's capability to imagine new ideas, create art, or think about existing concepts in a novel manner. This effect is particularly useful to artists of any sort as it can help a person overcome creative blocks on existing projects and induce inspiration for entirely new projects. Creativity enhancement can make imaginative activities more enjoyable and effortless in the moment and the inspiration from it can benefit the individual even after the effect has worn off. Creativity enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as thought connectivity, motivation enhancement, personal bias suppression, analysis enhancement, and thought acceleration in a manner which further amplifies a person's creativity. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Emotion enhancement

Full article: Emotion enhancement
Emotion enhancement is an effect which greatly amplifies and enhances a person's current emotional state beyond normal levels of intensity. Unlike many other subjective effects such as euphoria or anxiety, this effect does not actively induce specific emotions regardless of a person's current state of mind and mental stability. Instead, it works by passively amplifying and enhancing the genuine emotions that a person is already feeling prior to ingesting the drug or prior to the onset of this effect. This causes emotion enhancement to be equally capable of manifesting in both a positive and negative direction. For example, an individual who is currently feeling somewhat anxious or emotionally unstable may become overwhelmed with intensified negative emotions, paranoia, and confusion. In contrast, an individual who is generally feeling positive and emotionally stable is more likely to find themselves overwhelmed with states of emotional euphoria, happiness, and feelings of general contentment. The intensity of emotional states felt under emotion enhancement can shape the tone of a trip and predispose the user to other effects, such as mania or unity in positive states and thought loops or feelings of impending doom in negative states. Emotion enhancement is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Increased music appreciation

Increased music appreciation is a general sense of an increased enjoyment of music. When music is listened to during this state, not only does it subjectively sound better, but the perceived music and lyrical content may have a profound impact on the listener. This experience can give one a sense of hyper-awareness of every sound, lyric, melody, and complex layer of noise within a song in addition to an enhanced ability to individually comprehend their significance and interplay. The perceived emotional intent of the musician and the meaning of the music may also be felt in a greater level of clarity than that which is attainable during everyday sober living. This effect can result in the belief, legitimate or delusional, that one has connected with the “true meaning” or “spirit” behind an artist’s song. During particularly enjoyable songs, this effect can result in feelings of overwhelming harmony and a general sense of appreciation that can leave the person with a deep sense of connection towards the artist they are listening to. Increased music appreciation is commonly mistaken as a purely auditory effect but is more likely the result of several coinciding components such as novelty enhancement, personal meaning enhancement, emotion enhancement, and auditory enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids.

Increased sense of humor

is as a general enhancement of the likelihood and degree to which a person finds stimuli to be humorous and amusing. During this state, a person's sensitivity to finding things funny is noticeably amplified, often to the point that they will begin uncontrollably laughing at trivial things without any intelligible reason or apparent cause. Increased sense of humor is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as emotion enhancement and novelty enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of certain hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, and cannabinoids.

Novelty enhancement

Full article: Novelty enhancement
Novelty enhancement is a feeling of increased fascination, awe, and appreciation attributed to specific parts or the entirety of one's external environment. This can result in an often overwhelming impression that everyday concepts such as nature, existence, common events, and even household objects are now considerably more profound, interesting, and important. The experience of this effect commonly forces those who undergo it to acknowledge, consider, and appreciate the things around them in a level of detail and intensity which remains largely unparalleled throughout every day sobriety. It is often generally described using phrases such as "a sense of wonder" or "seeing the world as new". Novelty enhancement is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as personal bias suppression, motivation enhancement, and spirituality enhancement in a manner which further intensifies the experience. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Personal meaning enhancement

Personal meaning enhancement is the experience of a considerably increased sense of personal significance becoming attributed to innocuous situations, and coincidences. For example, one may feel that the lyrics of a song or events in a film directly relate to their life in a meaningful and distinct manner that is not usually felt during everyday sobriety. This feeling can continue to occur even when it is rationally understood that the external stimuli do not genuinely relate to the person experiencing it in such a direct manner. At its highest level, this effect will often synergize with delusions in a manner which can result in one genuinely believing that innocuous events are directly related to them. For example, one may begin to believe that the plot of a film is about their life or that a song was written for them. This phenomenon is well established within psychology and is commonly known as a "delusion of reference". Personal meaning enhancement is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, cannabinoids, and deliriants.

Suggestibility enhancement

Suggestibility enhancement is an increased tendency to accept and act on the suggestions of others. A common example of suggestibility enhancement in action would be a trip sitter deliberately making a person believe a false statement without question simply by telling it to them as true, even if the statement would usually be easily recognizable as impossible or absurd. If this is successfully accomplished, it can potentially result in the experience of relevant accompanying hallucinations and delusions which further solidify the belief which has been suggested to them. Suggestibility enhancement most commonly occurs under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants, and cannabinoids. It is most commonly induced under the influence of hallucinogens such as include LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, cannabis, ketamine, and nitrous oxide.

Thought connectivity

Thought connectivity is an alteration of a person's thought stream which is characterized by a distinct increase in wandering thoughts which connect into each other through a fluid association of ideas. During this state, thoughts may be subjectively experienced as a continuous stream of vaguely related ideas which tenuously connect into each other by incorporating a concept that was contained within the previous thought. When experienced, it is often likened to a complex game of word association. During this state, it is often difficult for the person to consciously guide the direction of their thoughts in a manner that leads into a state of increased distractibility. This will usually also result in one's train of thought contemplating an extremely broad variety of subjects, which can range from important, trivial, insightful, and nonsensical topics. Thought connectivity is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as thought acceleration and creativity enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Cognitive Suppressions

Cognitive suppressions are any subjective effect which decreases or lowers the intensity of an aspect of a person's cognition.

Focus suppression

Full article: Focus suppression
Focus suppression (also known as distractability) is a decreased ability to selectively concentrate on an aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. It can be best characterized by feelings of intense distractability which can prevent one from focusing on and performing basic tasks that would usually be relatively easy to not get distracted from. This effect is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate or heavy dosages of hallucinogens, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and cannabinoids.

Memory suppression

Full article: Memory suppression
Memory suppression is an inhibition of a person's ability to maintain a functional short and long-term memory. This occurs in a manner that is directly proportional to the dosage consumed and often begins with the degradation of one's short-term memory. At lower levels, this effect is a partial and potentially inconsistent failure of a person’s short-term memory. It can cause effects such as a general difficulty staying focused, an increase in distractibility, and a general tendency to forget what one is thinking or saying. At the higher levels, this effect is a complete and persistent failure of both a person’s long and short-term memory. It can be described as the experience of becoming completely incapable of remembering even the most basic fundamental concepts stored within the person’s long-term memory. This includes everything from their name, hometown, past memories, the awareness of being on drugs, what drugs even are, what human beings are, what life is, that time exists, what anything is, or that anything exists. Memory suppression of this level blocks all mental associations, attached meaning, acquired preferences, and value judgements one may have towards the external world.

Ego death

The most significant aspect of complete long-term memory suppression (level 4) is the way in which it suppresses the ability to recall and comprehend conceptual information associated with one's sense of self-hood and identity. The experience of this is colloquially known as ego death and its occurrence is well documented throughout the modern psychonaut subculture. Complete memory suppression can result in the profound experience that despite remaining fully conscious, there is no longer an “I” experiencing one's sensory input; there is just the sensory input as it is and by itself. This suppresses the otherwise nearly constant sensation in waking life of being a separate observer interacting with an external world. Although ego death does not necessarily shut down awareness of all mental processes, it does remove the feeling of being the thinker or cause of one's mental processes. It often results in the feeling of processing concepts from a neutral perspective completely untainted by past memories, prior experiences, contexts, and biases. Ego death often synergizes with other coinciding effects such as personal bias suppression, unity and interconnectedness, spirituality enhancement, and delusions. These accompanying effects further elevate the subjective intensity and transpersonal significance of ego death experiences.

Personal bias suppression

Personal bias suppression (also called cultural filter suppression) is a decrease in the personal or cultural biases, preferences, and associations which a person knowingly or unknowingly filters and interprets their perception of the world through. Analyzing one's beliefs, preferences, or associations while experiencing personal bias suppression can lead to new perspectives that one could not reach while sober. The suppression of this innate tendency often induces the realization that certain aspects of a person's personality, worldview and culture are not reflective of objective truths about reality, but are in fact subjective or even delusional opinions. This realization often leads to or accompanies deep states of insight and critical introspection which can create significant alterations in a person's perspective that last anywhere from days, weeks, months, or even years after the experience itself. Personal bias suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as conceptual thinking, analysis enhancement, and especially memory suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogens such as dissociatives and psychedelics. However, it can also occur to a much lesser extent under the influence of very heavy dosages entactogens and cannabinoids.

Novel States

A novel cognitive state is any cognitive effect which does not merely amplify or suppress familiar states of mind, but rather induces an experience that is qualitatively different from that of ordinary consciousness.

Although many transpersonal and psychological effects also technically fit into this definition, they are excluded from this category of effects as they have their own defining qualities which standard novel states do not.

Conceptual thinking

Full article: Conceptual thinking
Conceptual thinking can be described as an alteration to the nature and content of one's internal thought stream. This alteration predisposes a user to think thoughts which are no longer primarily comprised of words and linear sentence structures. Instead, thoughts become equally comprised of what is perceived to be extremely detailed renditions of the innately understandable and internally stored concepts which words exist to label. Essentially, thoughts cease to be spoken by an internal narrator and are instead “felt” and intuitively understood. For example, if a person were to think of an idea such as a "chair" during this state, one would not hear the word as part of an internal thought stream, but would feel the internally stored, pre-linguistic and innately understandable data which comprises the specific concept labelled within one's memory as a "chair". These conceptual thoughts are felt in a comprehensive level of detail that feels as if it is unparalleled within the primarily linguistic thought structure of everyday life. This is sometimes interpreted by those who undergo it as some sort of a "higher level of understanding". During this experience, conceptual thinking can cause one to feel not just the entirety of a concept's attributed data, but also how a given concept relates to and depends upon other known concepts. This can result in the perception that the person can better comprehend the complex interplay between the idea that is being contemplated and how it relates to other ideas. Conceptual thinking is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as personal bias suppression and analysis enhancement. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives.

Enhancement and suppression cycles

Enhancement and suppression cycles can be described as an effect which results in two opposite states of mind that do not occur simultaneously but instead swap between each other at seemingly random intervals. These intervals are generally 10-30 minutes in length but can occasionally be considerably shorter. The first of these two alternate states can be described as the experience of cognitive enhancements which feel is if they drastically improve the person's ability to think clearly. This includes analysis enhancement, thought organization, thought acceleration, creativity enhancement, and thought connectivity. The second of these two alternate states can be described as the experience of a range of cognitive suppressions which feel as if they drastically inhibit the person's ability to think clearly. These typically include specific effects such as thought deceleration, thought disorganization, creativity suppression, language suppression, and analysis suppression. Enhancement and suppression cycles are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of psychedelic tryptamines, such as psilocybin, ayahuasca, and 4-AcO-DMT.

Thought loops

Full article: Thought loops
Thought loops are the experience of becoming trapped within a chain of thoughts, actions and emotions which repeats itself over and over again in a cyclic loop. These loops usually range from anywhere between 5 seconds and 2 minutes in length. However, some users have reported them to be up to a few hours in length. It can be extremely disorientating to undergo this effect and it often triggers states of progressive anxiety within people who may be unfamiliar with the experience. The most effective way to end a cycle of thought loops is to simply sit down and try to let go. This state of mind is most likely to occur during states of memory suppression in which there is a partial or complete failure of the person's short-term memory. This may suggest that thought loops are the result of cognitive processes becoming unable to sustain themselves for appropriate lengths of time due to a lapse in short-term memory, resulting in the thought process attempting to restart from the beginning only to fall short once again in a perpetual cycle. Thought loops are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives.

Time distortion

Full article: Time distortion
Time distortion is an effect that makes the passage of time feel difficult to keep track of and wildly distorted. It is usually felt in two different forms, time dilation and time compression. These two forms are described and documented below:

TIME DILATION

Time dilation can be described as the feeling that time has slowed down. This commonly occurs during intense hallucinogenic experiences and seems to at least partially stem from the fact that during an intense trip, abnormally large amounts of experience are felt in very short periods of time. This can create the illusion that more time has passed than actually has. For example, at the end of certain experiences, one may feel that they have subjectively undergone days, weeks, months, years, or even infinite periods of time. Time dilation is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as delusions, thought loops, novelty enhancement, and internal hallucinations in a manner which may lead one into perceiving a disproportionately large number of events considering the amount of time that has actually passed in the real world. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants, and cannabinoids.

TIME COMPRESSION

Time compression can be described as the experience of time speeding up and passing much quicker than it usually would while sober. For example, during this state, a person may realize that an entire evening has passed them by in what feels like only a couple of hours. Time compression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as memory suppression, focus enhancement, stimulation, and amnesia in a manner which may lead one into perceiving a disproportionately small number of events considering the amount of time that has actually passed in the real world. It is most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of stimulating or amnesic compounds, such as amphetamines, benzodiazepines, entactogens, and GABAergic depressants.

Psychological States

Psychological effects are any cognitive effect that is either established within the psychological literature or arises as a result of the complex interplay between other more simplistic components such as cognitive enhancements and suppressions.

Catharsis

Full article: Catharsis
Catharsis is the experience of a sudden healing or releasing of strong or repressed negative emotions. The process typically starts off being difficult to fully face and is sometimes accompanied by very physically intense sensations which typically lead into pronounced emotion enhancement, deep introspection, and an analysis of one's character and past events. During this experience, many people describe reliving traumatic events, witnessing painful memories, having enhanced mental imagery, reliving of past experiences, a release of previously repressed emotions, painful feelings in general, and even experiences of encountering deceased relatives during hallucinatory states. This process of healing negative emotions and traumas (no matter the substance) is often described as feeling very natural and cleansing. In the context of psychoactive substances, this effect is commonly referred to as "purgative" in nature. It can be very effective for helping the individual overcome conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other personal afflictions relating to suffered past traumas. After this experience is over, most users report feelings of contentment, rejuvenation, and personal bias suppression which may last days, weeks, or even years after the event is over. Catharsis is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelics compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of entactogens, dissociatives, and meditation.

Deja vu

Full article: Deja vu
Déjà Vu or Deja Vu can be described as the sudden sensation that a current event or situation has already been experienced at some point in the past when, in actuality, it hasn't. This term is a common phrase from the French language which translates literally into “already seen”. It is a well-documented phenomenon that can commonly occur throughout both sober living and under the influence of hallucinogens. It can provide one with an overwhelming sense that they have “been here before”. The sensation is also often accompanied by a feeling of familiarity with the current location or setting, the current physical actions being performed, the situation as a whole, or the effects of the substance itself. This effect is often triggered despite the fact that during the experience of it, the person can be rationally aware that the circumstances of the “previous” experience (when, where, and how the earlier experience occurred) are uncertain or believed to be impossible. Déjà vu is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as short-term memory suppression and thought loops. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and cannabinoids.

Delusion

Full article: Delusion
A delusion is a spontaneously occurring false belief held with strong conviction regardless of evidence to the contrary, rational argument, or how much the belief seemingly contradicts the individual's prior understanding of the world. Within the context of hallucinogen usage, delusions can usually be broken out of when overwhelming evidence is provided to the contrary or when the person has sobered up enough to logically analyse the situation. It is exceedingly rare for hallucinogen induced delusions to persist into sobriety. It is also worth noting that delusions can often spread among individuals in group settings. For example, if one person makes a verbal statement regarding a delusional belief they are currently holding while in the presence of other similarly intoxicated people, these other people may also begin to hold the same delusion. This can result in shared hallucinations and a general reinforcement of the level of conviction in which they are each holding the delusional belief. Delusions are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics, deliriants, and dissociatives. However, they can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of cannabinoids, stimulant psychosis, and sleep deprivation. They are most likely to occur during states of memory suppression and share common themes and elements with clinical schizophrenia.

Introspection

Full article: Introspection
Introspection can be described as the experience of a state of mind in which a person feels as if they are being encouraged or forced to reflect upon and examine aspects of their life, thoughts, and feelings. This state is often felt to be extremely effective at facilitating therapeutic self-improvement and positive personal growth on a level that remains largely unparalleled by that of everyday sober living. This is due to the way in which it often results in logical resolutions to the present situation, future possibilities, insecurities, and goals or personal acceptance of insecurities, fears, hopes, struggles, and traumas. Introspection is unlikely to be an isolated effect component but rather the result of a combination of an appropriate setting in conjunction with other coinciding effects such as analysis enhancement, empathy, affection, and sociability enhancement, and personal bias suppression. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives. However, it can also occur in a less consistent form under the influence of entactogens and meditation.

Rejuvenation

Full article: Rejuvenation
Rejuvenation is a feeling of mild to extreme cognitive refreshment which is felt during the afterglow of certain compounds. The symptoms of rejuvenation often include a sustained sense of heightened mental clarity, increased emotional stability, increased calmness, mindfulness, increased motivation, personal bias suppression, increased focus, and decreased depression. At its highest level, feelings of rejuvenation can become so intense that they manifest as the profound and overwhelming sensation of being "reborn" anew. This mindstate can potentially last anywhere from several hours to several months after the substance has worn off. Rejuvenation is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics and dissociatives. However, it can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of entactogens, cannabinoids, and meditation.

Transpersonal States

Transpersonal states are any subjective effect which feels as if it alters a person's cognition in a manner which relates to or contains information regarding their place in the universe, the inner workings of reality or consciousness, and the context of their existence. The fullest manifestation of these effects fall under what are sometimes called "peak", "transcendent" or "transformative" experiences.

Spirituality enhancement

Spirituality enhancement can be described as the experience of a shift in a person’s personal beliefs regarding their existence and place within the universe, their relationship to others, and what they value as meaningful in life. It results in a person rethinking the significance they place on certain key concepts, holding some in higher regard than they did previously, and dismissing others as less important. These concepts and notions are not limited to but generally include:
  • An increased sense of personal purpose.
  • An increased interest in the pursuit of developing personal religious and spiritual ideologies.
  • An increased interest in the pursuit of developing personal religious and spiritual ideologies.
  • The formation of complex personal religious beliefs.
  • An increased sense of compassion towards nature and other people.
  • An increased sense of unity and interconnectedness between oneself, nature, “god”, and the universe as a whole.
  • A decreased sense of value placed upon money and material objects.
  • A decreased fear and greater acceptance of death and the finite nature of existence.
Although difficult to fully specify due to the subjective aspect of spirituality enhancement, these changes into a person's belief system can often result in profound changes in a person's personality which can sometimes be distinctively noticeable to the people around those who undergo it. This shift can occur suddenly but will usually increase gradually over time as a person repeatedly uses the psychoactive substance which is inducing it. Spirituality enhancement is unlikely to be an isolated effect component but rather the result of a combination of an appropriate setting in conjunction with other coinciding effects such as analysis enhancement, autonomous voice communication, novelty enhancement, perception of interdependent opposites, perception of predeterminism, perception of self-design, personal bias suppression, and unity and interconnectedness. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline.

Unity and interconnectedness

Self Excited Circuit by John Archibald Wheeler - This eye represents an observer and the line directly opposite represents that which it is perceiving within the external environment. The two sections are connected into each other via arrows to demonstrate that they are a singular and unified system.
Unity and interconnectedness can be described as the experience of one's sense of self becoming temporarily changed to feel as if it is constituted by a wider array of concepts than that which it previously did. For example, while a person may usually feel that they are exclusively their “ego” or a combination of their “ego” and physical body, during this state their sense of identity can change to also include the or an object they are interacting with, the external environment, or existence as a whole. This results in intense and inextricable feelings of unity or interconnectedness between oneself and varying arrays of previously "external" systems. It is worth noting that many people who undergo this experience consistently interpret it as the removal of a deeply embedded illusion, the destruction of which is often described as some sort of profound “awakening” or “enlightenment.” However, it is important to understand that these conclusions and feelings should not necessarily be accepted at face value as inherently true. Unity and interconnectedness most commonly occurs under the influence of psychedelic and dissociative compounds such as LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, mescaline, and ketamine. However, it can also occur during well-practiced meditation, deep states of contemplation, and intense focus.

See Also