A person with schizophrenia sees a door become open, while in reality it's closed. What would he see when he tries to pass through the door?

  1. Bumps into an invisible obstacle.

  2. He sees the door become closed just before he tries to pass.

  3. He opens the door himself just before passing through it, but his brain meticulously ignores his action or alters his memory so that he thinks the door was already open.


Short answer
Visual hallucinations in psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are typically not simple transformations of an inanimate lifeless object into another state. They are not a car turning upside down, or a door suddenly opening. Instead, they are often 'de novo' images or scenes, with religious and frightening content and just beyond grasp.

What are visual hallucinations in the psychotic spectrum? In general visual hallucinations are

Visual sensory perceptions in the absence of external stimuli (Ali, 2011).

Visual hallucinations (VHs) in psychosis are often life-sized, detailed, and solid. Important for your question - They are projected either just beyond the reach of individuals, or further away. They are often images of people, faces, animals, objects, or events. Common are visions with frightening content (bugs, dogs, snakes, distorted faces), and these are linked to distress. Notably, visions of God, angels, the devil, saints, and fairies are common. Also worthwhile to realize is that they are often aware others do not perceive it (Waters et al., 2014). For example, I heard a person anecdotally speak in front of our class (more than a decade ago, how time flies) about themselves featuring horns on their head when they would look in the mirror. These horns made them look like the devil in the mirror, which evoked strong feelings of distress. They did'n tell this explicitly, but I'm sure when they would feel on their heads, they wouldn't feel anything (combined tactile-visual hallucinations are, afaik, extremely rare, if existing at all). Instead, they interpreted their hallucinations as something religious, as something threatening and dangerous to themselves.

To place the other answer into perspective: visual hallucinations occur in 16% to 72% of schizophrenics, at some point in the course of their illness (Goodwin & Rosenthal (1971); Ali, (2016)) and their impact should not be underestimated (Oorschot et al., 2010).

- Ali, Curr Psych (2011); 10(11): 22-9
- Goodwill & Rosenthal, Arch Gen Psychiatry (1971); 24(1):76-80
- Oorschot et al., Schizophrenia Res (2010); 117;(2-3): 307
- Waters et al., Schizophr Bull (2014); 40(S4): 233–45


Unfortunately hallucinations of visual type seldom occur with schizophrenia. When visual hallucinations occur in schizophrenia or more frequently (but still uncommon) in other disorders they are rather unlike a simulation of the current world - e.g. a closed door becoming open in the room. In addition patient in a hallucinatory state is very affectively taken by the experience and often is just afraid to move. Further - the only way to know would be to ask the patient as to what happened, but given that this kind of event is very rarely, if at all, happening, there is no answer because - how can you set up an experiment. Therefore this question, interesting though it may be, is just of speculative value.

A good article about the topic is:

M Manford F Andermann, Complex visual hallucinations. Clinical and neurobiological insights. Brain, Volume 121, Issue 10, 1 October 1998, Pages 1819–1840


Hallucinations by schizophrenics are not determined by the space around them and self asserted by the content of the world around them as a certainance to there observation. The belief in the hallucination is strenuous to the response of there association within the real world and is a product of there delusion in there mind which is separate to the physical world but is as equally valid what separates a schizophrenic and someone who is not is belief in there observation and it's concurrence which equally from the dawn of time Aristotle Plato Socrates has never been able to be proved to be certain of any perception that it's subject to. The problem with hallucination and delusion is it needs a clear definition in order to judge the negation and tell me this has anyone ever come to a complete answer and unquestionable definition.

I had a doctor ask me are you suffering from any delusions or hallucinations and I candidly responded well no as far as I can tell which responded in a chortle from him lol


Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome. On this site we expect users to answer questions based on credible sources and preferably journal papers. However, even wikipedia may suffice at times. This answer seems like a personal opinion. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Apr 20 '18 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ Point taken but as a sufferer of shizophrenia i think a have a pertenent opinion and have an argument greater than anyone trying to analyse a mind that illness is subject to and to be honest i will take my experience and its explanation over any scientific judgement from my lucid point of view from memory when i'm subject to rational argument but even that could be determined as hallucination unless you gain a picture of a reasoned argument from my communication ill lead that to your own personal judgement. $\endgroup$ – 8Mad0Manc8 Apr 21 '18 at 21:48

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