A neuroscientist explains why reality may just be a hallucination

A neuroscientist explains why reality may just be a hallucinationAnil Seth, professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, explains the link between perception and reality.

Seth believes reality as we know it comes from activity of our brain. Following is a transcript of the video.[scroll down for video]

Anil Seth: How do we know that we experience the real world? In fact, we probably don’t. Everything that we perceive, everything that we experience, is a result of the brain interpreting the sensory information that comes in in a particular way.

I’m Anil Seth. I’m a professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex in the UK. Now you could say that all of our experiences are all hallucinated. It’s just that whenever we agree about what’s out there, that’s what we call reality. Brain brings to bear its prior expectations about what’s out there in order to interpret this massive, noisy, and ambiguous sensory information that it continually encounters.

Perception, instead of just being a reflection of what’s actually there in the world, is always this active process of interpretation.

It’s easy to assume that we see with our eyes. In fact, we see with our brains. Our eyes are of course necessary, but what we actually end up perceiving is much more a product of how our brain interprets all this information from the eyes than the eyes being this window into an objective external reality.

And when the balance is disturbed between how the brain interprets sensory information and what the sensory information actually is, well, that’s when people start to see things that other people don’t, and that’s what we call hallucination.

When you look at a cloud, and sometimes you can see faces in clouds, now that’s a kind of hallucination. Other people who will see things that really other people don’t see, that’s just a different balance that they have between how their prior expectations influence the sensory data that comes in.

Another aspect of this is when you take things like psychedelic drugs. That also leads people to have unusual experiences, to see things that aren’t there. Again, it doesn’t mean that these things really exist. It just means that your brain is working in a different way so that its prior expectations come to dominate this sensory information.

We can see a number of things that happen in the brain on psychedelics. One of the things that happens is the brain generally becomes a bit more disorganized. Normally in the brain, different parts of the brain have activity that correlates.

So we see all these networks in the brain with different areas active at the same time, and then they diminish their activity at the same time as well.

How visual hallucinations in the psychedelic state might come about could be that in the psychedelic state, what you perceive is dependent more on the brain than the sensory data that’s coming in through the eyes and the ears. And we have the opportunity now to try to characterize exactly how and why this happens.

But what we experience as being real is a construction of the brain. So when I experience a particular color, that doesn’t mean that color exists out there in the universe, that a red mug is actually painted some color that exists independently of my mind and brain.

No, red is something that my brain constructs in order to interpret visual information. This leads to the question, is anything real? Is anything really there?

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

The Long But Inevitable Road to World War 3 Explained

For some time now we have been on a very dangerous road which is leading straight into world war 3, but in order to see...

Dad forces ‘bully’ son to run to school in the rain

A Virginia father posted a Facebook video that he says shows his 10-year-old son running to school in the rain as a form of...

Food For Thought: How Your Belly Controls Your Brain

Now before you dismiss this possibility, and close your mind to the prospect of learning something remarkable, ask yourself if you have ever felt butterflies in...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Bombs Have Been Dropped in Nevada – U.S. is Responsible

Apparently, America is now using Nevada's land to test bombs. With each passing day, the U.S. continues to follow their own personal agenda. A report did reveal...

Oklahoma High Schooler’s Carbon Discovery Elicits Wonder From Experts

Taking teenage rebellion to a new level, Oklahoma high school senior George Wang stunned teachers and fellow students when in April he co-authored a...

The Long But Inevitable Road to World War 3 Explained

For some time now we have been on a very dangerous road which is leading straight into world war 3, but in order to see...

Coke Put 6 Strangers In The Dark: What They Saw When The Lights Came On Blew Their Minds

We live in a world filled with judgement and prejudice. Whether we realize it or not, we exist in a constant state of appraisal, making snap...

The 25 Rules of Disinformation

We are in the post-constitutional era in the United States, a time when the government does whatever it wants to whomever it wants, and...

Is It Really Money That Motivates Us? The Science Will Surprise You!

Human nature is not what we have been told. I couldn't contain my excitement while watching this video because this is what I have always...

Similarities Between Big Tobacco and Big Pharma

The Top 5 Similarities and Practices Between Big Tobacco and Big Pharma Tobacco companies and pharmaceutical companies share so many commonalities and industry practices, that...

€50 million In Cocaine Discovered At Coca-Cola Plant

Recent events are reason to make the public doubt one of the latest escapades which have taken place in France. A shipment which arrived from...

US Officials say Russians have hacked the White House

Russian government hacked into the White House computers, report says The Russian government is responsible for a known cyber hack on the White House, according to...

Binge Drinking – Too Much Too Fast: The Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Bars, parties, and social gatherings – what do all of these have in common? Booze… Yes, from beer to wine to Jell-O Shots, alcohol is...