Cognitive Curiosities

A menagerie of the mind.

See also: Consciousness: An Outside View, Accepting Deviant Minds, Hallucinated Gods, Neurons Gone Wild

States of consciousness

  • Moods and emotions: sadness, fear, surprise, laughter, joy, lust, anxiety, guilt, anger, shame, pride, boredom, and nostalgia
  • Drugs: drunk, high, coked-up, focused, mellow, manic, ego-less. We typically think of these states as somehow unnatural, but they work by tweaking the same neurotransmitters that the brain uses every day. "There is nothing that one can experience on a drug that is not, at some level, an expression of the brain's potential," Sam Harris reminds us. "Whatever one has experienced after ingesting a drug... is likely to have been experienced, by someone, somewhere, without it."
  • Sleep: dreaming, lucid dreaming, drowsiness, hypnagogia, hypnopompia, the Tetris effect
  • Illness: stupor, delirium, lightheadedness, out-of-body experiences
  • Trances: battle trance, the zone, possession trances, hypnosis, media-induced (books, TV/movies, video games)
  • Voices/dual agency: hallucinated gods, schizophrenia, tulpas, dissociative identity disorder(?)
  • Misc: pain, meditation, spiritual experiences, tunnel vision, runner's high, 'flow', déjà-vu, daydreaming, orgasm, speaking in tongues

Not sure if all of the above qualify as "states" of consciousness; they may be mere "effects." (Not even sure what the difference is.)

Weird effects

Synesthesia, ideasthesia, ASMR

Alien hand syndrome, face blindness, blindsight, ...

Split-brain patients

Last updated December 27, 2014.