On the blog this term we will be covering new developments in our research along with returning to past work produced by various members of the team. First up is a 2016 review on hallucinations and dreams, led by Flavie Waters, that I was a co-author on as part of the International Consortium of Hallucinations Research (ICHR).
In the review we consider the phenomenological and neurobiological similarities and differences between waking hallucinations, hypnagogic experiences (around the boundaries of sleep) and dream states. While there are a number of overlaps in the characteristics and underlying mechanisms of each state, we also highlight key differences, such as the level of immersion in the latter case. In dreams we are plunged into a “closed” viewpoint, scenario, or world but the kinds of unusual experiences you might see in psychosis can be much more blended with a wider reality. We also examine the “REM intrusion” theory of hallucinations, in which the foray of dream activity into waking life is suggested as a basis for hallucination (tl:dr – probably not, but more research needed!).
Ben Alderson-Day, September 2020.