Monday, June 13, 2011

Hallucinations and the "Theater of the Mind"

The mind, the brain, or the "mind-brain," is far more peculiar than we think. Perhaps, stealing a line from Richard Dawkins (who accredits it to J.B.S. Haldane), it is "stranger than we can think."

In the following video from, neurologist Oliver Sacks (of "Awakenings" fame) discusses the visual and audio "hallucinations" that occur in approximately ten percent of the visually and hearing impaired - although these "Charles Bonnet" hallucinations are largely under-reported. Such hallucinations - which are distinct phenomena separate from the psychopathological hallucinations of specific disorders such as schizophrenia - may help to explain, Dr. Sacks suggests, how "the theater of the mind" is generated (or perhaps co-generated?) by the mechanisms of the brain.

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