An everyday kind of hallucination
A note for Lesson no. 4, "Your Brain Predicts (Almost) Everything You Do," in Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 71 is:
Neuroscientists like to say that your day-to-day experience is a carefully controlled hallucination, constrained by the world and your body but ultimately constructed by your brain.
I referred to conscious perception and experience as an everyday hallucination for a number of years before discovering that philosopher Andy Clark eloquently makes the same point.
Since about 2012, I've been giving scientific talks to academics in which I use a "Mooney image" — a black and white blobby image — to demonstrate that your brain actively constructs every experience you have, as an everyday hallucination. I used this device in my TED talk as well.
The psychologist Thomas Metzinger referred to the human brain as constantly hallucinating at the world during normal waking states. The philosopher Andy Clark calls prediction signals in the brain "controlled hallucinations." He has written eloquently about this in his book.
Also see Anil Seth's TED talk.
Interestingly, the neuroscientist Phil Corlett and his colleagues have studied how prediction signals give rise to psychiatric hallucinations.
- Barrett, Lisa Feldman. 2017. How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
- Metzinger, Thomas. 2004. Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity, 52. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Clark, Andy. 2015. Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action, and the Embodied Mind. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Powers III, Albert R., Megan Kelley, and Philip R. Corlett. 2016. "Hallucinations as Top-Down Effects on Perception." Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging 1 (5): 393–400.