Imagination to hallucination: A continuum of consciousness

Paul J. Rotkiewicz (2004)

The purpose of this dissertation was to challenge the traditional dichotomous view of auditory hallucinations and the individuals who experience them. The focus was on the phenomenon of hallucinations through a non-pathological lens. Mental health professionals' predispositions for auditory hallucinations were explored, thus expanding how we may think about these experiences in general. In addition, the mental health professionals' results were compared to the results of a group of musicians. The comparison between the two groups allowed for an examination of the groups' overall value systems regarding hallucinatory experiences. It was found that musicians had a higher predisposition for hallucinations as compared to groups of mental health professionals and a control group. This does support the view that a continuum of consciousness exists in which there is actually little difference between the experience of an auditory hallucination and that of the internal thought processes of non-hallucinating individuals. This study does not intend to downplay the severity of distress and dysfunction that is normally associated with hallucinations that are problematic, but rather to focus on the experience itself; an area that little information is known about.