Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Paul NewmanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_2101


A sensory perception in the absence of an external stimulus. Hallucinations are often differentiated from sensory illusions which are distortions or misinterpretations of actual sensory experiences. Hallucinations can involve any sensory modality (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or gustatory).

Simple (unformed) hallucinations are sensory perceptions that are typically vague and without meaning (e.g., whistling sounds, flashing lights, geometric patterns). In complex (formed) hallucinations, the perceptual experience generally concerns objects, people, or animals (e.g., hearing voices, seeing animals, or tasting chocolate).

Common causes of hallucinations include:
  • Psychosis (resulting from delirium or psychotic disorder)

  • Cerebral lesions (especially related to ictal discharge)

  • Amputation (phantom pain)

  • Certain dementias (e.g., Lewy body)


References and Readings

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Capruso, D. X., Hamsher, K. D., & Benton, A. L. (1998). Clinical evaluation of visual perception and constructional ability. In P. J. Snyder & P. D. Nussbaum (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology: A pocket handbook for assessment (pp. 521–540). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  3. Tenkin, S., & Cummings, J. L. (2003). Hallucinations and related conditions. In K. M. Heilman & E. Valenstein (Eds.), Clinical neuropsychology (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Psychology and NeuropsychologyDrake CenterCincinnatiUSA