Phasmophobia Wiki

Sanity is a parameter which determines a number of factors during gameplay. Sanity begins at 100% at the start of a game and decreases as it progresses. The lower the average sanity, the more likely a ghost is to perform certain actions.


There are two main readings of sanity in the game: the individual sanity of each player, and the average team sanity of all players. These values can be read at any time on the van's sanity monitor in all difficulty modes except Nightmare and Insanity, where the screen will be damaged and sanity readings do not function. Each player's displayed individual sanity fluctuate by up to ±2%, while the displayed average sanity has a larger fluctuation depending on the number of players. This fluctuation is only applied to the numbers shown on the screen in the van, and the actual value used for the game's calculations does not have this fluctuation applied. For example, if a 3-player game has an actual average sanity of 65%, the displayed average sanity will fluctuate between 59% to 71%.[verification needed] This sanity fluctuation counts towards certain actions being performed by the ghost. For example, if the displayed average sanity is below the ghost's hunt sanity threshold, it may decide to initiate a hunt even if the sanity fluctuates again to a higher level.

Once an exit door has been opened, players' sanities will begin to be able to drop, subject to certain factors listed below. Sanity affects several gameplay aspects such as ghost events, hunts, and flickering lights;[note 1] lower average sanity results in increasing relative frequency of such paranormal activity, though as there is a high degree of randomness in these occurrences to begin with, this may not always be readily apparent over the course of an investigation. Individual sanities are not taken into account for these effects in most cases, meaning that a player with a high sanity level going inside may still face more aggressive behavior from the ghost if their partners staying outside all have near zero sanity.

Dead players' sanities are not included when calculating the average team sanity.

All ghosts have a specific hunt sanity threshold below which they will be able to attempt a hunt. The Banshee is the only ghost which uses its target's sanity to decide whether to hunt, while other effects still use average sanity.

When a player reaches 0% sanity, nothing noteworthy occurs, save for the completion of the "Reach 0 sanity" Daily Task if available and not yet completed that day. Sanity cannot go into the negatives.

Passive drain[]

Whether passive sanity drain is applied depends on the status of the lights in the room. In most rooms, sanity drain will be prevented by turning on the room's "main lights", these generally being ceiling light sources controlled by wall switches, rather than lamps or televisions, of which will still provide visibility when turned on but will not block sanity drain. In larger rooms with multiple dark spots (e.g. most hallways in Sunny Meadows Mental Institution), sanity drain will not be blocked entirely even with the lights on, but will instead be reduced to 80% of the normal rate. Additionally, being near a Firelight will reduce sanity drain by a variable percentage based on the tier of the item, even if the room's lights are off.

The table below lists the rates when the "main lights" are off:

Map size Drain during Setup Phase (%/s) Normal drain (%/s)
Small 0.09 0.12
Medium 0.05 0.08
Large 0.03 0.05

The values above are multiplied depending on the difficulty:

The values listed in the table are for multiplayer; playing solo will further halve the rate of sanity drain.

Alternatively, the following is a table of sanity-wise drain time, assuming no setup phase:

Map size Time to drain 10% sanity in multiplayer (s), for sanity multiplier...
0.5x 1x 1.5x 2x
Small ~166.7 ~83.3 ~55.6 ~41.7
Medium 250 125 ~83.3 62.5
Large 400 200 ~133.3 100

Examples of situations that will not prevent passive sanity drain include:

  • Holding a lit flashlight of any type
  • Standing in front of an active computer, even though it technically counts as a light source
  • Turning up the game's brightness

Protections against passive sanity drain do not apply to other types of drains.

Ghost-related drains[]

  • When a player dies, all other living players will lose 15% sanity.

Ghosts can drain the player's sanity in several ways:

  • For all ghosts, if the target for most ghost events (not to be confused with a Banshee target) collides with the ghost or smoke ball, causing it to disappear, that player loses 10% of their sanity.
    • If the Banshee performs a singing event on its hunt target and they collide with the ghost in this manner, they lose 15% sanity instead.
    • Colliding with the Oni during any form of ghost event deducts 20% sanity instead.
  • The Jinn will occasionally use an ability that drains the sanity of nearby players by 25%, which can only be used if the breaker is turned on. The Yurei has a somewhat similar ability, with a rate of 15%. The Yurei's ability is done when it fully slams a door and is applied to nearby players.
  • Being cursed by the Moroi, caused by a response on the Parabolic microphone or Spirit Box, causes the player to double their passive sanity drain, and lights will not negate this sanity drain.
  • Being within 10 metres of a manifested Phantom while in pseudo line-of-sight (where heartbeats play) further drops the player's sanity at a rate of approximately 0.5%/s.
  • When the Poltergeist uses its ability to throw multiple items, the sanity of nearby players will decrease by 2% times the number of objects thrown.

Equipment sanity gain/loss[]

Sanity can be directly gained or lost through certain equipment:

  • Sanity Pills: Restores between 0% to 100% of individual sanity depending on the difficulty over a period of time.
  • Haunted Mirror: Each usage costs 20% sanity or 7.5% per second, whichever is higher.
  • Monkey Paw: Using I wish to be sane sets all players' sanities to 50%, and increases the passive sanity drain rate by 50%. Using any weather wish reduces sanity by 25%.
  • Music Box: Being within 2.5 metres of an active music box drains sanity by 2.5% per second.
  • Ouija Board: Each question asked deducts a certain amount of sanity from the player, depending on the type of question.
  • Summoning Circle: Each candle lit deducts 16% sanity from nearby players.
  • Tarot Cards: Drawing the card The Sun restores the player's sanity to 100%, while drawing the card The Moon drains the player's sanity completely, setting it at 0%. In addition, The Wheel of Fortune, can either add 25% sanity (if the card burns green), or deduct 25% (if the card burns red).
  • Voodoo Doll: Each pin deducts 5% sanity, except for the heart pin which deducts 10%.


  • During the Setup Phase, sanity cannot go below 50%, regardless of the source of sanity drain.


  • Get an average sanity below 25%


  • Reach 0 sanity ($25/25 XP)

Related difficulty settings[]

  • Starting sanity: Each member's starting sanity
  • Sanity pill restoration (%): The amount of sanity restored per 'Sanity Pills'
  • Sanity drain speed (%): The rate your sanity decreases while standing in the dark


  • Previously, witnessing a ghost manifestation, humming, or whispering increased sanity by 20%. This was a known bug which was fixed in Post Launch Update #3.
  • Internally, insanity is used for some mechanics, instead of looking directly at sanity. Insanity is simply 100% - sanity.


Early Access Alpha
30 January 2020 Decreased the rate of passive sanity drain.
4 February 2020 More fake ghost sounds will play the lower the sanity an individual player has.
6 Februrary 2020 Increased the rate of passive sanity drain.
10 March 2020 Sanity sounds can no longer be heard by dead players.
23 March 2020 Decreased the rate of passive sanity drain again.
11 April 2020 Sanity no longer decays before any exit door is opened.
7 July 2020 Sanity no longer decays outside the building.
21 August 2020 Decreased the rate of passive sanity drain in medium and large maps.
25 August 2020 Further decreased the rate of passive sanity drain in medium and large maps.
11 September 2020 Removed fake ghost sounds caused by low sanity.
Early Access (Steam)
19 September 2020
(Part 3)
Playing on singleplayer now halves passive sanity drain.
28 September 2020 Lights will now flicker for individual players at lower sanity. Sanity drain from darkness has been reworked; the drain is now based on the status of the lights in the room rather than the amount of light surrounding the player. This improves performance, but reduces accuracy in some cases.
Sanity will no longer be drained if a “main” light is on in the room
Large rooms with a lot of dark areas, e.g. the hallways of Sunny Meadows, will instead drain sanity at 80% of the normal rate.
0.10.0 Turning on several light switches in a room, but not all, will now drain sanity at a reduced rate, instead of the full 'sanity drain speed'


  1. Flickering lights is also based on where the ghost is, but this range is very large and practically useless on small maps. This note is here because there is no page on "lights"