CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM- Do you know that hallucinations are not only associated with those suffering mental illness but they happen to everyone around the globe in a milder form.
This fact has been discovered by the scientists of Cardiff University and they also claim to be able to give the reason for hallucinations and that why some of the people are more exposed to hallucinations.
Researchers in collaboration with their colleagues at University of Cambridge, England conducted the research in which they considered the idea that hallucination happens due to the brain’s predisposition to interpret the world by using prior knowledge and predictions.
They surveyed if the brain’s tendency to create such image of the world contributes to people’s psychosis.
The research took into account 18 people who had suffered very early signs of psychosis and had been referred to a mental health service managed by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
These volunteers were compared with 16 healthy volunteers and were asked whether they could make sense of ambiguous black and white image. They were then shown the original colored picture of those black and white images in order to improve the brain’s ability to comprehend the vague image.
By doing that it was found out that scope of improvement was larger in those having early signs of psychosis as compared to the healthy ones.
“These findings are important because, not only do they tell us that the emergence of key symptoms of mental illness can be understood in terms of an altered balance in normal brain functions,” says Naresh Subramaniam from University of Cambridge. “Importantly, they also suggest that these symptoms and experiences do not reflect a ‘broken’ brain but rather one that is striving – in a very natural way – to make sense of incoming data that are ambiguous,” he adds.
Scientists attribute brain’s ability to fill in the blanks as accountable for hallucinations. A co-author of this study, Dr. Christoph Teufel from Cardiff University comments, “Vision is a constructive process – in other words, our brain makes up the world that we ‘see.” He further says that, “It fills in the blanks, ignoring the things that don’t quite fit, and presents to us an image of the world that has been edited and made to fit with what we expect.”
It means that we have the tendency to perceive the things that are not real, which is the exact definition of hallucinations. So, scientists conclude that these ‘altered perceptual experiences’ are not limited to those having mental illness, but can be observed in a milder form across the whole population.