In a groundbreaking research paper, a recent study has uncovered an intriguing relationship between microdosing and the experience of heightened authenticity.
Authentically expressing oneself is considered integral to personal fulfillment and wellbeing, and understanding the factors that contribute to this sense of authenticity is of great interest. Microdosing, the practice of ingesting minuscule doses of psychedelics (psilocybin, LSD, etc.) that do not induce perceptual alterations, has gained attention in recent years for its reported positive effects. A new study, published in the journal of Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs Online, aims to shed light on whether microdosing could make you feel more authentic, providing fresh insights into the potential benefits of this practice.
What were the research methodologies?
The study collected data from 18 individuals who engaged in microdosing over a span of one month, resulting in a total of 192 observations. Participants were asked to provide self-assessments of their state authenticity on both microdosing days and non-microdosing days. The number of activities participants engaged in and their satisfaction with these activities were also recorded. To ensure the validity of the findings, demographic information, trait authenticity, and emotional states were considered as control variables. The data were analyzed using mixed-effects models, accounting for individual variation and observing the effects across multiple days. Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethics Review Board, and participants provided written consent upon enrollment.
At the baseline (day 0), demographic information and measures of trait authenticity were collected. From day 1 to day 28, state authenticity, daily habits, and satisfaction with those habits were assessed. The data collection schedule varied, with daily sampling during week 1, every other day sampling during weeks 2 and 3, and three sampling days in week 4, aimed at reducing participant burden. On the sampled days, participants were prompted to report their emotional states using experience sampling methods, which involved five signals sent at intervals of 3 hours between 10 am and 10 pm. Participants also had the option to voluntarily submit data, resulting in one participant providing data for 30 observation days. The data collection was facilitated using the EthicaData application, which complied with GDPR regulations and was approved by the Ethics Review Board.
How was authenticity measured?
State authenticity was measured using the Real-Self Overlap Scale, where participants selected the circle depiction that best represented how closely they felt connected to their real self on the sampled days. The microdosing practice was assessed through an indicator variable indicating whether participants had taken a microdose on the current day, the previous day, or neither of the two days. Notably, participants had different microdosing practices, ranging from fixed schedules to more flexible approaches, and interviews were conducted to ensure consistent definitions and understanding of microdosing among participants. It is important to point out that this is a limitation in the study and future research should aim in making microdosing doses and regimens standardized in the study to keep all variables consistent.
Two measures related to activities were included in the study. The number of activities engaged in on a specific day was calculated by summing various activities, such as meditation, cardio, household chores, cooking, hobbies, reading, and others. Participants were also asked to rate their satisfaction with each activity on a scale from 0 to 6. Average positive and negative affect for each day were computed based on participants' reports of the emotions they had experienced since the last questionnaire. The questionnaire utilized a modified differential emotion scale and captured a range of positive and negative emotions.
How were their hypotheses tested?
To test the hypotheses, a mixed-effects model was employed, with observation days nested within individuals. Only the intercept was estimated as a random effect. Control variables included gender, age, and three dimensions of trait authenticity: self-alienation, authentic living, and accepting external influence. Indicator variables for the days of the week and a variable distinguishing between pre and post-March 5, 2020, were added to account for systematic differences and the impact of the pandemic. Dummy variables for the observation days were also included to address potential habituation effects.
The study uncovers promising results
The results of the study revealed several important findings. Firstly, when analyzing the variation in state authenticity, it was found that approximately 26% could be explained by differences between individuals, while a substantial portion remained unexplained and varied within individuals.
Regarding the effect of time on state authenticity, there was no significant change observed as the study progressed. This suggests that the passing of time alone did not impact the level of feeling genuine.
Moving on to the formal analyses, the results showed that participants experienced significantly higher levels of state authenticity on the day they took a microdose and the day after compared to other days. The effect was 1.7 times stronger on the microdosing day. Interestingly, the three dimensions of trait authenticity did not predict state authenticity scores. This points that microdosing could make you feel more authentic.
Participants had higher satisfaction with their daily activities
Further analysis revealed that on microdosing days, participants were more likely to engage in chores, cooking, hobbies, reading, and writing. They also reported higher satisfaction with chores, cooking, work, studying, spending time with family and friends, having sex, and engaging in health-related activities such as exercise, sauna, meditation, and yoga.
In summary, the results demonstrated that microdosing could make you feel more authentic. Microdosing was associated with higher levels of state authenticity, and this relationship was partially mediated by the number and satisfaction of daily activities. Time alone did not influence state authenticity, and the effects of microdosing on authenticity were not explained by changes in mood. The specific types of activities participants engaged in and their satisfaction varied on microdosing days compared to non-microdosing days.
The results of the study revealed a significant link between microdosing and increased state authenticity. This finding suggests that microdosing has the potential to enhance individuals' experience of being true to themselves in the present moment.
What does this all mean?
This new research paper provides valuable empirical evidence supporting the relationship between microdosing and state authenticity showing that microdosing could make you feel more authentic. The findings highlight the potential benefits of microdosing, suggesting that this practice could play a central role in promoting a heightened sense of authenticity. By engaging in microdosing, individuals may experience an increased alignment between their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, fostering a genuine and congruent expression of their internal values and desires.
The study's results also emphasize the importance of daily activities and their impact on state authenticity. Engaging in a greater number of activities and deriving satisfaction from them appears to further enhance feelings of authenticity. This finding underscores the significance of aligning one's actions with personal values and finding fulfillment in daily pursuits.
It is worth noting that this study contributes to the existing literature by providing quantitative empirical evidence for the relationship between microdosing and state authenticity. Previous qualitative studies have hinted at this connection, but this research paper offers a solid foundation for future investigations in this area.
Are there any limitations in this study?
From a subjective point of view, the paper has some limitations. First, the sample size is very small. Secondly, and most importantly, there is a limitation particularly with the lack of mentioning each individual’s dose and there being a wide variability in each individual’s microdose regimen. While the authors do mention that they screened participants prior to the beginning of the study to ensure all participants had the same concept of what microdosing is, the lack of a consistent, reproducible microdose protocol should be included in future studies. Additionally, the authors do not mention what specific substances each participant used, such as psilocybin or LSD. The subjective opinion presented is to highlight certain aspects of microdosing studies that could be modified in future research to present better data and results that can be reproducible. Microdosing doses can vary widely among individuals, so this is something that should be considered in future studies.
In conclusion, this new research paper does highlight the link between microdosing and an increased sense of authenticity, in what seems to be a study that is first of its kind. Engaging in microdosing practices appears to enhance individuals' experience of being true to themselves, particularly on the day of microdosing and the subsequent day. Additionally, the study suggests that participating in more activities and finding satisfaction in those activities further contributes to feelings of authenticity. This study opens up exciting possibilities for future research, providing valuable insights into the potential benefits of microdosing on health and wellbeing, and provides researchers a foundation on which to improve on to further study the psychological effects of microdosing on people.