About the research — Bezielen
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Bezielen Academy is co-operating with a team of Maastricht University in a study among participants of our retreats in the Veluwe, Netherlands. Participants of the retreat will be offered the chance of taking part in this study. Read an outline of the team’s approach below. Maastricht University

We are a team of researchers in the Netherlands who study the effects of various altered states of consciousness.  We are particularly interested in the influence of the set (mindset) and setting (environment) of these experiences in facilitating positive effects on prosocial behaviors like creativity, empathy, and quality of life. Empathy includes the ability to intellectually and emotionally connect with the experience of another individual. Creativity is defined as the use of imagination or original ideas. Research has suggested that the two are positively related, with individuals who score high in empathy, also scoring high on measures of creativity.

Monnik meditatie breinscan

These skills are crucial for everyday interactions and cooperation, and have been found to be decreased in certain pathological populations (autism, depression, and adhd, etc.). Furthermore, previous research has found that these skills demonstrate plasticity and can be enhanced by interventions. By finding treatments that promote these skills, individual deficits could be decreased. We were recently able to visit spiritual ayahuasca ceremonies and found that individuals in these ceremonies experienced an increase in prosocial behaviors.  However, we believe that this increase may not actually be due to the drug, but may be due to the supportive, social environment that it is taken in.  Thus, we want to further investigate whether it is indeed the setting causing these effects, by visiting similar supportive retreats.

This research is ethically reviewed and approved by the Ethical Committee of Psychology and Neuroscience (ERCPN), Maastricht University

Research setup

Partitioners will receive the first questionaires and two tasks to carry out at home before they go to the retreat. The research team will be visiting in person at the retreat to let partitioners do the tests on sunday for the second measurement. Afterwards the team will email them to complete the last measurement 7 days after leaving the weekend. It will be the same questionnaires and small tasks each time. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the questionnaires: so the 3 questionnaires will take 1 and a half hours total, spread out over the days.

For questions please mail: bibi.visser@student.maastrichtuniversity.nl

Kind regards,

Bibi Visser
Natasha Mason
Dr Kim Kuypers

If you want to read our recent article, you can find the published article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4989012/

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