Why Don’t We Hallucinate Our Mental Images?

Have you ever wondered why mental images aren't as vivid as real images? What's the difference between imagining something and hallucinating it? Alexander Sulfaro joins Aphantasia Network to discuss this and more.
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Mental Imagery vs. Hallucinations

Have you ever wondered why mental images aren’t as vivid as real images? What’s the difference between imagining something and hallucinating it? Can we even measure differences in mental imagery at all?

Research has found that the brain uses similar processes for imagination and perception, which can sometimes compete with each other.

In this presentation, researcher Alexander Sulfaro presents an interesting model for the aphantasia and hyperphantasia spectrum as a competition between visual perception and mental imagery.

Alex joined Aphantasia Network to discuss these findings in a live member event hosted by our Founder, Tom Ebeyer.

To watch our Q&A with Alex, become a member and visit this link.

About the Researcher

Alexander Sulfaro is a final-year PhD student at the Sydney Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Sydney in Australia. His research explores the mechanisms behind internally-generated sensory experiences like mental images, hallucinations, and dreams. Currently, Alex is researching whether images and sounds are imagined differently, whether the content of mental imagery can be decoded from brain recordings, why mental images don’t look like real images, and whether we can even measure differences in mental imagery at all.

Sulfaro, A. A., Robinson, A. K., & Carlson, T. A. (2022). Perception as a hierarchical competition: a model that differentiates imagined, veridical, and hallucinated percepts. doi:10.1101/2022.09.02.506121