The Ganzflicker experience: High probability of seeing vivid and complex pseudo-hallucinations with imagery but not aphantasia

Varg Koenigsmark, Johanna Bergmann, Reshanne R Reeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There are considerable individual differences in visual mental imagery ability across the general population, including a “blind mind's eye”, or aphantasia. Recent studies have shown that imagery is linked to differences in perception in the healthy population, and clinical work has found a connection between imagery and hallucinatory experiences in neurological disorders. However, whether imagery ability is associated with anomalous perception–including hallucinations–in the general population remains unclear. In the current study, we explored the relationship between imagery ability and the anomalous perception of pseudo-hallucinations (PH) using rhythmic flicker stimulation (“Ganzflicker”). Specifically, we investigated whether the ability to generate voluntary imagery is associated with susceptibility to flicker-induced PH. We additionally explored individual differences in observed features of PH. We recruited a sample of people with aphantasia (aphants) and imagery (imagers) to view a constant red-and-black flicker for approximately 10 min. We found that imagers were more susceptible to PH, and saw more complex and vivid PH, compared to aphants. This study provides the first evidence that the ability to generate visual imagery increases the likelihood of experiencing complex and vivid anomalous percepts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCortex
Early online date2 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Mental imagery
  • Hallucinations
  • Individual differences
  • Aphantasia
  • Visual flicker

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Ganzflicker experience: High probability of seeing vivid and complex pseudo-hallucinations with imagery but not aphantasia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this