The phenomenology of hypo- and hyperreality in psychopathology

Contemporary perspectives on delusions offer valuable neuropsychiatric, psychoanalytic, and philosophical explanations of the formation and persistence of delusional phenomena. However, two problems arise. Firstly, these different perspectives offer us an explanation “from the outside”. They pay little attention to the actual personal experiences, and implicitly assume their incomprehensibility. This implicates a questionable validity. Secondly, these perspectives fail to account for two complex phenomena that are inherent to certain delusions, namely double book-keeping and the primary delusional experience. The purpose of this article is to address both problems, by offering an understanding “from the inside”. Our phenomenological approach is a form of “radical empathy”, and crosses the Jaspersian limits of understanding. It compares delusional experiences with variations of reality experience in everyday life, and makes use of the structure of imagination. Six factors influencing the experience of reality are discussed and illustrated by clinical and non-clinical examples. These factors are: continuity, materiality and resistance, multiplicity of sensations and perceptions, intensity, the sense of authorship, and the complex role of intersubjectivity. I suggest that experiences of hypo- and hyperreality are not restricted to pathology, but have their place in everyday life as well. Delusional phenomena can be better understood by investigating the interplay of these six factors. With this framework, the two complex phenomena consequently prove to be better understandable to us. Our approach remains within the phenomenal experience and might thereby contribute to the validity of psychopathology.
Keywords Delusion  Reality  Schizophrenia  Radical empathy  Double book-keeping  Hallucination  Imagination
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11097-015-9429-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,282
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Schizophrenia, Consciousness, and the Self.Louis A. Sass & Josef Parnas - 2003 - Schizophrenia Bulletin 29 (3):427-444.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

On Understanding the Self of the Schizophrenics.Jorge Gonçalves - 2017 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 23 (5):1013-1019.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Phenomenology of the Technical Delusion in Schizophrenics.Alfred Kraus - 1994 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 25 (1):51-69.
Delusions in the Phenomenological Perspective.Andrzej Kapusta - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (3):113-125.
Imagination, Delusion and Hallucinations.Gregory Currie - 2000 - In Max Coltheart & Martin Davies (eds.), Mind and Language. Blackwell. pp. 168-183.
On Incomprehensibility in Schizophrenia.Mads Gram Henriksen - 2013 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (1):105-129.
Monothematic Delusions: Towards a Two-Factor Account.Martin Davies, Max Coltheart, Robyn Langdon & N. Breen - 2001 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 8 (2-3):133-58.
Delusions as Performance Failures.Philip Gerrans - 2001 - Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 6 (3).
Abductive Inference and Delusional Belief.Max Coltheart, Peter Menzies & John Sutton - 2010 - Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 15 (1):261-287.


Added to PP index

Total views
28 ( #330,438 of 2,285,994 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #413,898 of 2,285,994 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature