I wanted to ask this question for a long time but couldnt find any thing to support my argument. Today i found this https://www.ted.com/talk/anil_seth_how_your_brain_hallucinates_your_conscious_reality#t-694887, where the speaker Anil seth theoretize that our reality is just a hallucination. Exchange of information happens both ways inside and outside, i.e, we not only perceive the world around us but also actively generates it.

Perception is an active constructive process. To summarise,

Hallucination is uncontrolled perception, then Perception is controlled hallucination.

My question is, If thats the case then how two people would agree on the same state of world?


2 Answers 2


According to Anil Seth, in this talk, consciousness is an active construction process. In that view, for the subject to have an experience about world, physical signals from mind independent objects are processed by brain and a highly probabilistic mental content of the physical is experienced. Even though I mentioned objects, it could be material things and features.

But our sensory abilities are not inherently cable of perceiving everything. The range of vision is 360-400 to 760-830nm. Similarly, for audition its 20Hz to 20,000Hz. There are other phenomena like aftereffects and adaptations, which too work along with perception. The information thus processed by sensory faculty is further compared with prior data that is stored in the brain and brain tries to come up with a decent construction of mind-independent objects. This experience can be called a controlled hallucination as there are other possibilities for such construction.

The general organization and working pattern of typically developing humans brains are very similar, especially in the early processing of sensory signals. Similarly, the physical signals that it processes of mind-independent objects are also very similar. Given these two, it is highly likely that two people have similar experience, even though we cannot confirm it and can only say that we share a human like experience.


  • $\begingroup$ Also active construction of reality doesn't mean there are basic objective reality. usually our mind uses similar mechanisms to understand this basic reality. $\endgroup$
    – Erdem
    Oct 16, 2018 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. I do not see your claims of 20Hz - 20,000Hz etc. in the references you provided. Can you provide some references to back your claims? I would also like to point out that I have seen plenty of documentation to state that the hearing ranges lower with age, and not everyone has the same hearing range for various reasons. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2018 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Erdem, an objective reality can never be proven. Question was in regards to subjective reality and why two such realities have similar characteristics. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2018 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers, intention of those numbers were not to say that it was exact for every human being, but to mention that those are the general numbers and most importantly our perspective mechanisms have bounded capabilities. I will provide references. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2018 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ the brain tries to come up with a decent construction of mind-independent objects, This statement assumes that there are physical objects and we perceive it differently conditioned on our own experience, but in the video where they have shown that every object is merged with a physical dog, when the dog is not even there, clearly implies (in my opinion) that most of the times, We perceive physical objects in reality when they are not even there, these physical objects which we have created in out own mind wouldn't be visible to any body else. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2018 at 17:59

Additionally, active construction of reality doesn't mean there are basic objective reality. Usually our mind uses similar mechanisms to understand this basic reality. our byological makeup, psychological processes and broad social context provides us basic assumptions, and other tools to understand what is going on in the world. usually what we perceive is outcome of our interpertation of that basic reality by byological psychological, social tools. We might see world differently Because of our byological, psychological social differences. However, those differences are not so big that we can not understand each other.
Referenses: Burr, V. (2006). An introduction to social constructionism. Routledge. Raskin, J. D. (2002). Constructivism in psychology: Personal construct psychology, radical constructivism, and social constructionism. American communication journal, 5(3), 1-25.

  • $\begingroup$ objective reality, is there any boundary between what we actually perceive and the true reality, I mean, Is there a definite objective reality? Is there possibility that some people understand more objective reality than others? $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2018 at 17:54

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