There are many research works that have been done to establish the effect of personality traits on psychedelic experiences. This helps to provide an understanding of whether these experiences can alter our behaviors and characters.

Basically, personality influences how we interact with the world, our feelings, our relationships, and our thoughts. The big question is, what effect do personality traits have on a psychedelic trip? Also, does a psychedelic experience influence personality traits?

In this article, we’ll provide answers to these questions to give you a better understanding. Continue reading to find out more.

Read also: The Dangers of Mixing Psychedelics and Opioids for Chronic Pain.

Psychedelic substances are powerful, and they can affect our personality traits. The effects are usually profound and can cause long-lasting changes to our personality. This power is also linked to the ability of psychedelics to open our minds to new perspectives and experiences, allowing us to gain more insights into inaccessible emotions.

Even though putting in work to integrate psychedelic experience can determine its effect on our personality, mental health practitioners and researchers are exploring its potential to improve mental well-being.

What Are the Five Personality Traits?

Before we go into the details of research on the effects of psychedelics on personality traits, here’s an overview of the Big Five Model. This is the most accepted personality theory in the world of psychology today. It’s important to note that every trait is a spectrum with two extremes, and you can fall in between.

With that said, here are the different traits:

Extraversion

This describes a person’s eagerness to seek social interactions and enjoy them. A person with high extraversion is typically emotionally expressive, talkative, and outgoing. People with low extraversion or introverts are mostly reserved, and they tend to assume a passive role in social instances. This doesn’t completely imply that they don’t like to socialize, as it’s only not easy for them and mostly exhausting.

Agreeableness

This describes a person’s interaction with others. People with high agreeableness are trusting and warm, and they mostly tend to look out to help others and make them feel at ease and comfortable. People with low agreeableness lack empathy and tend to be selfish and ignore the feelings and needs of others.

Openness to Experience

This describes how little or much a person is open to trying new things and going out of their comfort zone. A person who is highly open will show artistic talents, as well as a curiosity about the world around them. On the other hand, a person who is closed off or one with a low openness score will be more comfortable with a routine, even if it’s for every aspect of their lives. This makes it possible for them to be practical thinkers, but they also tend to struggle with abstract thinking and creative tasks.

Conscientiousness

This determines the ability of a person to set goals and follow them closely without being distracted by pleasures around them. A person who is highly conscientious is determined, driven, and satisfied by getting things done. On the other hand, a person who has low conscientiousness tends to struggle with adversities. They are also more likely to leave tasks, especially if it becomes frustrating.

Neuroticism

This describes the emotional stability of a person, as well as their potential to experience negative emotions. It also describes the ability of an individual to handle the challenges of life, as well as their attitude to these challenges.

Basically, people who are highly neurotic are more anxious, and they usually doubt themselves a lot. They get recurring thoughts a lot that affect their self-esteem, making them irritable or sad. People with low neuroticism scores are mostly calm and confident, and this makes it easier for them to maintain high self-esteem and trust themselves even more.

Can Personality Traits Affect the Psychedelic Experience?

Yes, research shows that an individual’s response to psychedelic mushrooms is usually influenced by their personality. A study in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs revealed a connection between the five traits above and the response to the psilocybin journey.

Here’s what the research suggested:

  • Individuals with High Extraversion: People with high extraversion scores showed more connection to others. Research also highlighted that they are less likely to encounter extraordinary beings. According to the authors of the research, this was a reflection of their preference for social interactions.
  • Individuals with High Openness: People under this category are more likely to experience inner visions, love, and contact with transcendent forces and extraordinary beings.
  • Individuals with High Neuroticism: People under this category mostly experience a bad trip.

In addition, researchers also found that people who are highly emotionally stable don’t have bad experiences, while risk-takers are more likely to experience ego dissolution and ego death. This is because they are more likely to go after extreme psychological experiences.

Can Psychedelics Affect Personality Traits?

Yes, research highlights the following:

  • Decrease Neuroticism.
  • Increase extraversion.
  • Increase conscientiousness.
  • Increase openness.

These reports are based on the findings of David Erritzoe in his study titled Effects of psilocybin therapy on personality structure. You can find this study in the Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, which explored psilocybin effects following administration in a supportive setting. The big five personality traits were also studied in patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Five patients in the study had previous experiences using psychedelics for recreational purposes in early adulthood. During the first screening, eighteen patients met the criteria for severe or very severe depression, while the other two had moderate depression according to their Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms (QIDS) score.

The first screening also evaluated the patients’ baseline personality traits using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R). This assessment included multiple questions related to different personality traits, allowing the researchers to determine the patients’ levels of Neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experiences, conscientiousness, and agreeableness at the beginning of the study.

The study involved two psilocybin dosing sessions, with a one-week interval between them. During the first session, the patients were given a 10 mg dose, and during the second session, they received a 25 mg dose.

To assess the integration of the psychedelic experience into their lives, the patients had to return to the facilities the day after each dosing session and one week after the final dose. During these visits, they completed the Altered State of Consciousness Questionnaire to describe their experiences during the psychedelic trips. They also answered the QIDS and NEO-PI-R surveys again.

The results showed a general decrease in neuroticism scores and an increase in extraversion and openness scores. Conscientiousness scores showed a slight increase, while agreeableness scores remained the same as the baseline assessment.

Although conventional antidepressant treatment can also lead to these results, psychedelic therapy appears to have a unique effect on increasing extraversion and openness. High levels of openness are particularly associated with profound psychedelic experiences, including feelings of bliss, unity, and spirituality during the peak of the trip. However, patients with high neuroticism scores experienced only minor improvements in their depressive symptoms.

These results were maintained by the patients at a three-month follow-up, indicating that a single large dose of psychedelics, combined with psychological support, can induce long-lasting changes in personality traits.

Can Microdosing Psychedelics Affect Personality Traits?

Yes, recent research indicates that microdosing may have the ability to change your personality and positively impact your behavior by helping you break bad habits.

Microdosing involves taking small and controlled amounts of psychedelics on a regular basis. It has gained popularity for its potential benefits in areas such as psychological well-being, work performance, and creativity.

In a study by Hannah Dressler et al. which is in the Journal of Psychedelic Studies, involving 76 participants who had previous experience with microdosing to assess their personality traits and microdosing habits. These participants had no history of mental health-related diagnoses. They were then instructed to continue their microdosing regimen for an additional month.

Upon follow-up, the participants reported an increase in conscientiousness and a decrease in Neuroticism. However, traits such as Agreeableness, Openness, and Extraversion remained unchanged. Additionally, participants noted feeling more organized, responsible, and determined, which helped them tackle their daily tasks.

Another study featured in the Journal of Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that microdosing enhances feelings of authenticity. Participants reported significantly higher levels of state authenticity both on the day they microdosed and the following day compared to other days.

For more information on this study, you can read our article titled: “New Study Reveals Microdosing Could Make You Feel More Authentic.

According to the findings, it is clear that microdosing can:

  • Make one feel more authentic.
  • Make one feel more responsible.
  • Make one feel more organized.
  • Decrease Neuroticism.
  • Increase conscientiousness.

Can Personality Affect Microdosing Regime?

Indeed, Extraversion and Neuroticism appear to influence individuals’ ability to maintain a microdosing regimen effectively. The observation in a study conducted by Hannah Dressler et al., was that individuals with high levels of Extraversion were more inclined to initiate and sustain their microdosing routine, while those with high Neuroticism scores had fewer and shorter experiences with microdosing.

The primary reasons for adopting microdosing were personal growth and self-medication. This is with a smaller percentage using it to enhance productivity or creativity. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that the study revealed the significance of subjects’ prior experience with microdosing, impacting the study’s positive outcome. Participants who were unfamiliar with microdosing tended to score higher in Neuroticism based on their initial results.

An important finding from this research is that initial psychedelic encounters can heighten emotional awareness, potentially triggering negative emotions. However, these experiences can also provide individuals with the necessary tools to address and overcome these issues.

Conclusion

Difficult personalities can hinder social integration and personal growth, making it challenging to form meaningful connections with others. Research shows that individuals with high levels of Neuroticism tend to be less responsive to treatment for depression. However, promising results suggest that psychedelic experiences capable of altering personality traits could potentially improve their condition.

In recent years, the psychedelic renaissance has shed light on the various ways these substances can affect an individual’s life. The limited research on their benefits has now expanded, revealing psilocybin, LSD, and other compounds as safe and effective options.