University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of recreational drug use on creative behavior : a qualitative study in the Dutch underground art culture

Wang, Y. (2020) The influence of recreational drug use on creative behavior : a qualitative study in the Dutch underground art culture.

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Abstract:Illicit drug use is frequently attached to social stigma and linked to health damage throughout history. Even though in recent decades new knowledge yielded from varied fields have contributed to a more objective understanding of the effects of illicit psychoactive drugs and more benefits have been discovered in medicine and other disciplines, there is still a knowledge gap between scientific literature on recreational drug use and its relationship to artistic creativity. The present paper intends to explore and understand the experience and perspective of underground Dutch artists about the impacts of recreational drugs use in their creative endeavors. The aim of this study is to draw associations between recreational drug use and artists’ creativity level, understanding the underlying motivations and the influence of drug use towards creative behaviors, as well as examine the benefits and the process and illicit substance use on creativity by use of qualitative analysis. For this reason, first, a systematic theoretical framework is conceptualized and addressed from existing literature. Based on the literature framework, a codebook was constructed with explicit motivations (themes) anticipated: affected emotions; heightened senses; altered states of mind, in addition to implicit motivations of well-being and personal freedom. The qualitative study adopts a semi-structured interview technique as a method of analysis. Ten Dutch underground artist participants of multi-disciplines disclosed their personal experiences of recreational drug use in-depth, as well as the influences and personal implications on their creative behaviors. Preliminary results confirm psychoactive substances can produce robust effects to enhance creative behavior, and findings demonstrate that illicit psychoactive substances used in recreational contexts can have positive influence on artistic creativity. To this end, this paper proposes that knowledge-based education should be communicated to the general public in order to achieve transparency and objective understandings, and that decriminalization of illicit substances under strict measures should be taken into consideration, for their beneficial creative capabilities.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:02 science and culture in general, 05 communication studies, 21 art forms
Programme:Communication Studies BSc (56615)
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