Pop Culture
Feb 17, 2010, 05:25AM

Mathematic Hallucinations

What the "whirly, spirally, tunnel-vision-like patterns" of our hallucinations tell us about how our brains are wired.

Think drug-induced hallucinations, and the whirly, spirally, tunnel-vision-like patterns of psychedelic imagery immediately spring to mind. But it's not just hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, cannabis or mescaline that conjure up these geometric structures. People have reported seeing them in near-death experiences, as a result of disorders like epilepsy and schizophrenia, following sensory deprivation, or even just after applying pressure to the eyeballs. So common are these geometric hallucinations, t hat in the last century scientists began asking themselves if they couldn't tell us something fundamental about how our brains are wired up. And it seems that they can.


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