Psychiatrists’ views on the mind-brain relationship (MBR) have marked clinical and research implications, but there is a lack of studies on this topic.

Objectives

To evaluate psychiatrists’ opinions on the MBR, and whether they are amenable to change or not.

Methods

We conducted a survey of psychiatrists’ views on the MBR just before and after a debate on the MBR at the Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry in 2014.

Results

Initially, from more than 600 participants, 53% endorsed the view that “the mind (your “I”) is a product of brain activity”, while 47% disagreed. Moreover, 72% contested the view that “the universe is composed only of matter”. After the debate, 30% changed from a materialist to a non-materialist view of mind, while 17% changed in the opposite way.

Discussion

Psychiatrists are interested in debates on the MBR, do not hold a monolithic view on the subject and their positions are open to reflection and change, suggesting the need for more in-depth studies and rigorous but open-minded debates on the subject.

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