Ganzfeld effect: hallucinations of sensory deprivation


The Ganzfeld effect occurs when your brain is deprived of visual stimulation and fills in the blanks on its own. It alters your perception and causes unusual visual and auditory patterns. It can even lead to hallucinations.

Psychologist Wolfgang Metzger introduced the concept of the ganzfeld effect in 1930. “Ganzfeld” is a German word meaning “entire field”. It refers to an unstructured and uniform space covering your entire visual field.

Experiments on the Ganzfeld effect have been used to study telepathy and hallucinatory states. Some people do it just for the experience.

Read on to learn more about the Ganzfeld effect, if it’s safe, and what to consider before trying this experience.

If you can see, your brain uses visual input to make sense of the world. To create the ganzfeld effect, you need to deprive your brain of the information it needs to perform this task.

In the absence of incoming signals, your perception of brightness slowly decreases. This is called the fade out.

As the retinal cells become more active, you might start to see the blood vessels in your eyes. Within minutes, things can turn gray. Then you might see zigzag lines, dots, or a drop of color. The full effect usually takes 5-7 minutes.

Longer exposure can produce stranger results. Your brain is frantically searching for outside stimuli. Finding none, the upper visual cortex begins to amplify the available information, generating visual and auditory hallucinations.

It’s similar to what would happen if you were lost in a blinding snowstorm, seeing nothing but a wall of white.

The Ganzfeld effect gained public attention when it was used to research extrasensory perception.

In telepathy experiments, a person acts as a receptor and is exposed to white noise and homogeneous red light. Another person, the sender, tries to relay the information to the recipient.

With mixed results, these surveys are controversial and have been hotly debated.

The ganzfeld effect has also been used to research hallucinations. He provided information on how our senses, especially vision, work to detect change.

Some people see it as a way to induce visual phenomena and hallucinations without taking dangerous drugs. Some use it as a form of deep meditation.

For most people, this has no practical use, but it can help satisfy your curiosity about how the human mind works.

To achieve the Ganzfeld effect, you need to create this very important uniform field of view. It requires attention to detail.

One way to do this is to cut a ping pong ball in half. You will use each half to cover a different eye. Balls must be clean, free from stains and writing. The halves should fit your face so that there is no space to let in light. You can use duct tape or adhesive to make sure they don’t move.

Another way is to cut out plain white paper in the shape of an eye mask. Cut an elastic band and staple the ends of the band to each side of the mask. You will use it to keep the mask on your eyes. Glue cotton balls around the edge of the mask to prevent light from entering.

You can even buy Ganzfeld safety glasses.

Whatever you do, the light reaching your eyes should be even in all directions. The room should not have shadows or flickering light. Some people choose to shine a bright light, usually red, to flood the room and keep the lighting evenly.

Next, you’ll need noise-canceling headphones, uninterrupted static electricity, or some form of white noise.

Put on headphones and eye covers, but keep your eyes open. Then sit back, stay still, and let the experience begin.

It is safe for most people to produce the ganzfeld effect.

While harmless for most, the experience can be disorienting and too intense for some people.

With exposure for 10 to 20 minutes, you may experience intermittent vision loss. Some people don’t even know if their eyes are open or closed. These effects can be disturbing, but they are temporary.

It is also possible to experience disturbing hallucinations. While this can actually be the goal for some people, hallucinations can be frightening. You should not try this experience if you have a mental health problem that could be exacerbated by sensory deprivation or hallucinations.

A ganzfeld is an unstructured, uniform space across your entire visual field. By changing your sense of sight and sound, you deprive your brain of the sensory input it needs to understand the outside world.

As your brain searches for information, it begins to fill in the missing pieces, which can produce visual and auditory hallucinations.

If you want to find out what your brain will conjure up, you can try producing the Ganzfeld effect yourself. It is not harmful to most people.

Keep in mind that the experience is subjective. This means it is different for everyone and may not live up to expectations.

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