Sanity is a core mechanic of Phasmophobia. Sanity determines a number of factors during gameplay. The lower the sanity of a player, the more likely phenomena may happen around them. Sanity is controlled by almost as many factors as it affects.
Sanity of all players can be viewed at any time on the van's sanity screen (On nightmare difficulty you can't see your sanity because the screen in the van is having some "paranormal interference"). The individual sanity will be fluctuate -2%/+3% of the actual sanity level, while average sanity will be the mean of the currently displayed individual sanities.
Sanity decreases whenever the player is in the dark. The table below lists the values for this:
|Map size||Drain during Setup Phase||Normal drain|
The values above are multiplied depending on the difficulty:
- 1x rate of decay for Amateur.
- 1.5x rate of decay for Intermediate.
- 2x rate of decay for Professional.
Playing solo will further decrease the rate of sanity decay by half.
- Witnessing some forms of ghost activity.
- When a player dies, all other alive players will lose 15% sanity.
- Witnessing the manifested form of a Ghost, whether in a hunt or not.
- Use of a Ouija Board, even without a response.
- Responses deduct 50% sanity, unless the ghost is a Demon, where it will deduct 40% sanity instead.
- Failing the question will deduct 10% sanity, regardless of ghost type.
- During the Setup Phase, sanity cannot go below 50%.
- Standing in a room with the lights turned on, holding a lit candle, or being outside of the building, prevents sanity drain. This is not effective against active drains.
Sanity can only be regained through the use of sanity pills, which will restore up to 40% of sanity depending on the difficulty. Up to 4 bottles can be brought on a mission, allowing up to a total of 160% sanity to be restored across all hunters. The amount of pills that can be brought is not affected by the number of players.
Sanity affects most of the ghost interactions in the game. The chances of ghost activity increase as the sanity of each player goes down. Unless the ghost is a Banshee, which has a very small chance of hunting its target regardless of sanity, a hunt has practically zero chance of occurring immediately after the player loads in on Professional difficulty, which has no setup phase. While sanity is not the only factor that decides whether a hunt will begin, it greatly reduces the chances of a hunt thereafter if the player maintains their high sanity.
It should be noted that the game takes in account the average Sanity level of all players to determine the intensity and frequency of the effects, not individual ones. This means that a player going inside with a high Sanity level may still face very agressive behavior from the Ghost if his partners staying outside all have near zero percent sanity.
At 30% sanity or less, the player will start to occasionally see flickering lights.[verify] These flickering lights are different from ghost interactions as they cannot be seen by other players.
- Dead players' sanity is not included when calculating the average team sanity.
- 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.