According to a new study, published in the journal Public Understanding of Science , stereotypes about psychedelics and their users can affect people’s perception of scientists.
As a result, researchers who admit to using psychedelics tend to be viewed as less upright compared to their abstinent counterparts . Almost a thousand volunteers participated in the study.
Stereotypes in three studies
The study was subdivided, in turn, into three studies . In the first two, participants read a short story about a scientist who was conducting research on psychedelic substances. The researchers found that the participants considered the scientist to have less scientific integrity when the story mentioned that he had extensive personal experience with ingesting psychedelics.
Still, the scientist’s knowledge of substance use did not affect evaluations of the quality of his research or its perceived value.
In a third study, participants were asked to rate the quality of research presented at a "Science of Psychedelics" conference . The conference was described as including psychedelic-related social activities, such as a shamanic drum circle and group meditation session, or was described as including more conventional social activities, such as a tour of a local brewery. The conference was also held in a spacious hall with colored light installations, while the latest version of the conference was performed in an ordinary university auditorium.
Participants tended to see that the quality of the research at the conference was lower when it included psychedelic images and activities.
The findings indicate that “both the self-admitted personal use of psychedelics and the association with the psychedelic subculture can negatively affect the public’s perception of those researchers (in terms of their integrity) and / or their findings (in terms of their validity) to different degrees".
Ironically, this stereotype mostly affects people who just don’t have first-hand experience with psychedelics .