Scott Barry Kaufman standing in front of a stone wall

The Scientific Psychedelics Revolution and Embracing Mortality

Roland Griffiths & David Yaden || An Ode to Joy

Scott Barry Kaufman is a cognitive scientist and humanistic psychologist exploring the mind, creativity, and the depths of human potential. He is a professor at Columbia University and founder and director of the Center for Human Potential. Dr. Kaufman has taught at Columbia University, Yale, NYU, the University of Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. Dr. Kaufman received a B.S. in psychology and human computer interaction from Carnegie Mellon, an M. Phil in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale University. He is also an Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Wellbeing Science.

Dr. Kaufman hosts the The Psychology Podcast which has received over 20 million downloads and was included in Business Insider’s list of “9 podcasts that will change how you think about human behavior.” Dr. Kaufman is interested in using his research to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and self-actualized life.

Barry Scott Kaufman welcomes Roland Griffiths and David Yaden. 

Roland Griffiths and David Yaden smile for a photo together
Roland Griffiths (L) and David Yaden (R)

Dr. Roland Griffiths is a professor of neuroscience, psychiatry, and behavioral science, and director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has authored over 400 scientific publications and has trained more than 60 postdoctoral research fellows. His initial 2006 publication on psilocybin is often attributed as the catalyst for the re-initiation of psychedelic research after decades of halted drug research.

Dr. David Yaden is an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine working in The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. His research focus is on transformative experiences that can result in long-term changes and how they temporarily alter consciousness and self. His work has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and NPR.

In this episode, I talk to Roland Griffiths and David Yaden about the latest research on psychedelics. They answer some of my burning questions such as: What are the common characteristics of a mystical experience? Are hallucinations necessary for a transformative experience? How do psychedelics affect our brain? We also touch on the topics of mindfulness, religion, mental illness, and creativity as they share about the latest developments in the field. 


Twitter: @ExistWell


  • Roland’s background in psychopharmacology 
  • Roland’s meditation practice
  • David’s mystical experience
  • Roland’s mystical experience
  • Common characteristics of mystical experiences
  • Transformative experience or mental illness?
  • Was Timothy Leary right about psychedelics?
  • The future of psychedelic research 
  • The neuroscience of psychedelics
  • Creativity and therapeutic use of psychedelics
  • Are hallucinations needed for transformation?
  • Roland’s cancer diagnosis
  • The Griffiths Professorship Fund

SOURCE: Roland Griffiths & David Yaden || The Scientific Psychedelics Revolution and Embracing Mortality: An Ode to Joy

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