A pseudohallucination (from Ancient Greek: ψευδής (pseudḗs) "false, lying" + "hallucination") is an involuntary sensory experience vivid enough to be regarded as a hallucination, but which is recognised by the person experiencing it as being subjective and unreal. By contrast, a "true" hallucination is perceived as entirely real by the person experiencing it.[1]

The term "pseudohallucination" appears to have been coined by Friedrich Wilhelm Hagen.[2] Hagen published his 1868 book "Zur Theorie der Halluzination," to define them as "illusions or sensory errors".[2] The term was further explored by the Russian psychiatrist Victor Kandinsky (1849–1889).[2] In his work "On Pseudohallucinations" (Russian: "О псевдогаллюцинациях" [o psevdogalliutsinatsiakh]), he described his psychotic experience defining pseudohallucinations as "subjective perceptions similar to hallucinations, with respect to its character and vividness, but that differ from those because these do not have objective reality".[3][2]

The term is not widely used in the psychiatric and medical fields, as it is considered ambiguous;[4] the term nonpsychotic hallucination is preferred.[5] Pseudohallucinations are more likely to happen with a hallucinogenic drug. But "the current understanding of pseudohallucinations is mostly based on the work of Karl Jaspers".[6]

A further distinction is made between pseudohallucinations and parahallucinations, the latter being a result of damage to the peripheral nervous system.[7]

They are considered a possible symptom of conversion disorder in DSM-IV (2000).[8] In DSM-5 (2013), this definition has been removed.[2] Also, pseudohallucinations can occur in people with visual/hearing loss, referred to as Charles Bonnet syndrome.[citation needed][9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lavretsky, H. (1998). "The Russian Concept of Schizophrenia: A Review of the Literature". Schizophrenia Bulletin. 24 (4): 537–557. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a033348. ISSN 0586-7614. PMID 9853788.
  2. ^ a b c d e Telles-Correia, Diogo; Moreira, Ana Lúcia; Gonçalves, João S. (2015). "Hallucinations and related concepts—their conceptual background". Frontiers in Psychology. 6: 991. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00991. ISSN 1664-1078. PMC 4515540. PMID 26283978.
  3. ^ Kandinsky, V. (1885). Kritische und klinische Betrachtungen im Gebiete der Sinnestäuschungen. Berlin: Verlag von Friedlander and Sohn. p. 134
  4. ^ Berrios, G. E.; Dening, T. R. (1996). "Pseudohallucinations: A conceptual history". Psychological Medicine. 26 (4): 753–63. doi:10.1017/S0033291700037776. PMID 8817710.
  5. ^ van der Zwaard, Roy; Polak, Machiel A. (2001). "Pseudohallucinations: A pseudoconcept? A review of the validity of the concept, related to associate symptomatology". Comprehensive Psychiatry. 42 (1): 42–50. doi:10.1053/comp.2001.19752. PMID 11154715.
  6. ^ Sanati, Abdi (2012). "Pseudohallucinations: a critical review" (PDF). Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences. 5 (2): 42–47.
  7. ^ El-Mallakh, Rif S.; Walker, Kristin L. (2010). "Hallucinations, pseudohallucinations, and parahallucinations". Psychiatry. 73 (1): 34–42. doi:10.1521/psyc.2010.73.1.34. PMID 20235616. S2CID 19188662.
  8. ^ First, Michael B.; Frances, Allen; Pincus, Harold Alan (2002). DSM-IV-TR Handbook of Differential Diagnosis. American Psychiatric Pub. p. 64. ISBN 9781585620548.
  9. ^ Eperjesi, Frank (2010). "Visual Hallucinations in Charles Bonnet Syndrome". In Laroi, Frank; Aleman, Andre (eds.). Hallucinations: A guide to treatment and management. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 303–322. ISBN 978-0-19-954859-0.