Personal meaning enhancement

Personal meaning enhancement (also known as aberrant salience) is the experience of a considerably increased sense of personal significance becoming attributed to innocuous situations, and coincidences. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] For example, one may feel that the lyrics of a song or events in a film directly relate to their life in a meaningful and distinct manner that is not usually felt during everyday sobriety. This feeling can continue to occur even when it is rationally understood that the external stimuli do not genuinely relate to the person experiencing it in such a direct manner.

At its highest level, this effect will often synergize with delusions in a manner which can result in one genuinely believing that innocuous events are directly related to them. [1] For example, one may begin to believe that the plot of a film is about their life or that a song was written for them. This phenomenon is well established within psychiatry and is commonly known as a "delusion of reference" [8] [9] .

Personal meaning enhancement is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of hallucinogenic compounds, such as psychedelics [2] [3] , dissociatives [1] , cannabinoids [6] , and deliriants. However, it can also occur under the influence of sleep deprivation and stimulant psychosis. [7]


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