Ido Hartogsohn

Ido Hartogsohn, PhD

Bar-Ilan University

Expanding set and setting from the individual to the societal


The dependency of psychedelic effects on context, or set and setting, is the central axiom of psychedelic theory and practice. The fundamental, underlying reason for this crucial importance of set and setting factors is the meaning-enhancing properties of psychedelics, which are widely understood to amplify internal and external cues. Amplified and enhanced, such cues can induce dramatic effects and transformations that shape therapeutic outcomes. This defining meaning-enhancing quality of psychedelics also reveals their intriguing role in amplifying placebo response, widely understood as a form of meaning response. By enhancing meaning, psychedelics can enhance the power of placebo, thus becoming a type of super-placebo. This talk will explore the relationship between set and setting, meaning-enhancement and placebo as a central axis on which the psychedelic experience can be interpreted and understood.


Ido Hartogsohn, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the program for Science, Technology and Society at Bar Ilan University. Hartogsohn’s research engages the historical, sociological and cultural dimensions of the psychedelic experience with an emphasis on the role of context, or set and setting, in shaping psychedelic experiences for individuals and cultures at large. His book American Trip: How Set and Setting Shaped the American Psychedelic Experience explores the role of society and culture in shaping the results of mid-twentieth century American psychedelic research and the reception of psychedelics into American and global culture.



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