What's the difference between a delusion and a weird belief?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Magical Realist, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,877
    I asked my nurse practitioner the other day if I am delusional for believing in ghosts, ufos, psychic powers, and bigfoot. She said no. Those beliefs are like religion and may actually serve to benefit me in some way. So when DOES a weird belief become a delusion symptomatic of mental illness? It depends on how it affects you.


    http://www.psychiatry.cam.ac.uk/blog/201...ifference/

    "Beliefs that are bizarre, baffling and seemingly unsupported by evidence are referred to as delusions and are a hallmark of the most severe mental illnesses. Yet, it is possible to hold perfectly sane beliefs that others might regard as irrational. New brain imaging data suggests that while odd beliefs and delusions may exist on a continuum, the extent to which a belief evokes stress could be a crucial distinction.

    The research is published online ahead of print in the journal Neuropsychologia.

    “Our study suggests that that for individuals who hold strange beliefs but are not distressed by them, the brain signal is distinct from what is found in people with psychotic mental illness,” said Dr Philip Corlett, research associate at Cambridge and visiting assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, and the study’s lead author. “However, if the belief begins to pervade one’s world-view and engender distress, there is a shift toward more pathological brain and behavioural responses.”

    The researchers had previously observed that activity in the brain’s right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex predicts delusion severity in patients with psychosis. Having developed this neural marker of the processes underlying delusions, the researchers sought to explore whether similar alterations would be found in healthy, non-psychotic volunteers expressing beliefs that are, qualitatively, considered similar to those that characterize mental illness.

    As part of this study, participants completed questionnaires that captured the number of odd beliefs they endorsed and whether they were convinced, preoccupied or distressed by those beliefs.

    Study participants were asked if they believed in the power of witchcraft and mental telepathy, or if they felt there is a conspiracy against them. A commonly endorsed belief was, “People can make me aware of them just by thinking about me.”

    Studies using the same questionnaires in patients with delusions found that although healthy people often endorsed as many unusual ideas as patients, those with clinical delusions were more distressed about their beliefs.

    The researchers then correlated the predominance and nature of the beliefs with brain activity associated with delusions. The results suggest that there may be a separate mechanism through which unusual ideas and beliefs might remain benign and might even enrich people’s lives. However, healthy subjects whose beliefs were held with greater conviction and accompanied by greater distress were more likely to show brain activity similar to patients with delusions.

    Prof Paul Fletcher, MD, PhD, the Bernard Wolfe Professor of Health Neuroscience at University of Cambridge, is senior author. This research was supported by the Wellcome Trust."
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    No distinction between delusions and weird ideas except perhaps a sliding scale of some sort "oddness" subjective perception

    What could be perceived as difference between delusion / weird would be the individuals reaction

    As they say in England "Poor people are mad, rich people eccentric"

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. river

    Messages:
    9,791
    Delusion belief is when imagination conjures up anything . And then sets this delusion up in reality .

    Weird belief is a belief that is hard to fathom as being true .
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    30,642
    The question in the thread title is: "What's the difference between a delusion and a weird belief?" However, the opening post does not appear to address that question.

    A delusion is an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    A weird belief could be a delusion, or it could be a belief that is simply non-mainstream in some sense.
     
  8. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,618
    To me believing in the existence of a flying spaghetti monster is a weird belief.

    If you see one, it is a delusion.
     
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Messages:
    30,642
    The FSM is invisible. The only time you'll see him is in various graven images drawn from the fevered imaginings of the faithful. And yet, his noodly appendages are all around us, making sure, among other things, that things fall down correctly, as described by the Theory of Intelligent Falling.
     
    origin likes this.
  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,505
    I go to a climbing gym a lot. A delusion would be if I think I'll never fall. A weird belief would be if I think the yellow routes are easier because I like the color yellow. In reality there is no difference between the two however. A delusion is a weird believe.

    The yellow routes are more calming however...

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  11. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,408
    Delusional/weird? They are at a premium in society today. So much so that you're abnormal if you're not delusional or weird. Why, I could dye my hair bright orange and lime green, and they would still open the door for me at work.

    Don't worry, you're a rock star.
     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    The fact is that we are "hallucinating" all the time. When we agree on our hallucinated world we call it reality, a controlled hallucination.
    When we do not agree, one or both of us are "delusional" or subject to an "uncontrolled hallucination".

    Anil Seth explains and demonstrates these phenomena of "controlled" and "uncontrolled" hallucinations.
    https://www.ted.com/talks/anil_seth_how_your_brain_hallucinates_your_conscious_reality
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,618
    This strikes me as bunk.

    A hallucination is called that precisely because what the hallucinator perceives is not shared by others who would be expected to perceive it too.

    It is totally unhelpful to wreck the useful meaning of a word like hallucination: if we all hallucinate all the time then we have to chuck that word in the bin and invent another to describe what hallucination previously meant, before it was castrated by misuse.
     
  14. birch Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,097
    people have delusions of all kinds as well as beliefs of all kinds or even believe in lies, some willfully but that doesn't always mean they can't function.

    function as in those particular beliefs or delusions or even lies do not infringe on their physical life/functioning. a belief in god is not going to affect your physical self, the belief god will save you if you jump off a building will. these are people who truly believe disregarding their senses out of naivety.

    the reason for delusional beliefs of sociopaths and psychopaths are different and can function is because it's not that they don't have a grasp of reality, they are more often aware of reality to a very self-centered degree and especially how life operates to affect them. it's that they twist that reality to confuse or deceive others or they promote a false belief because it benefits them such as sociopaths being attracted to religion due to it's forgiveness angle. that's why they have traits like pathological lying and narcissism. they are no victims - at all. in fact, they are extremely political.
     
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    Do you agree that the brain is a prediction engine, based on prior programmed electro/chemically processed input of sensory information and stored in billions of bits of information contained in the brain's mirror neural system. So when we observe something, our brain makes a best guess of the information it receives and presents us with a mental experience of shape, color, sound, etc.

    When we share this experience similar to others we call it reality, but at best it is a relatively shared reality, based on point of observation. A form of confirmation bias, based on large numbers of prior stored experience and teaching in the neural network of the brain.

    We tend to to think of hallucinations as "uncontrolled" perceptions of the world which are NOT generally shared by most.

    I don't think Seth wrecked the term, he merely extended it, by adding a qualification that hallucination can be subdivided as "controlled" or "uncontrolled" modes of perception.

    IOW, "controlled" hallucinations (best guesses) are those mental perceptions (images) which ARE generally shared by most people. Note that he readily admitted that this process is flexible (and fragile) as demonstrated by the voice and the false arm experiments. And to use an observation from Antonsen, when our best guess of reality is shared, we call that empathy.

    I see Seth's his use of "controlled hallucination", as extending the term from a purely negative and "uncontrolled" mode of thought to a more neutral form of perception, which lends itself to general agreement of best guesses of what is experienced. A commonly shared hallucination, or perception, or best guess, of what is being observed.

    I agree, it is a novel application of the term, but if the brain is a form of biochemical computer, relying on prior processed secondary input it only has the ability to make best guesses by using existing programmed information. Even then there are always subtle differences, even when there is general agreement.

    I had the same immediate response to the term as you just expressed and I tried to translate it into another more appropriate term, but I couldn't come up with one.

    The words "thought" is too general and even the term "imagining" presents the same conceptual problems as "controlled hallucination".

    But as you have knowledge of chemistry and are most likely more informed as to how the brain functions, can you come up with a better term than "controlled hallucination" for our sensory experiences?
     
  16. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Without detailed knowledge of chemistry I would say a better term already exists

    REALITY

    What I see in the phrase
    We hallucinate all the time
    is a clickbate headline with no more substance than
    Flying saucer lands on the White House lawn and little green woman endorsed Trump

    However I would like to be a part of that hallucination
    Who would have thought a green woman would endorse Trump?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,618
    Chemistry is of no help at all here, but yes. The term for our sensory experience, as interpreted by our brains, is called "perception".

    There is no need to make such a meal out of this, surely?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    Reality is what is physically out there. What we see are reflections of that real object.
     
  19. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Be that as may be WE CALL IT REALITY

    I don't care if it's reflections of that real object, a pictogram or a chalk drawing on my forehead which gives me my perceptions - as long as it has a physicality OUT THERE it is REALITY

    The method of perception does not affect, change reality

    If it is NOT out there it's a delusion

    If it's a thought that eating the crust of bread gives you curly hair it's a weird belief

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    I thought my link was very much in context of the OP subject. But I use the term perception often myself, so I can live with that description which has its own limitations. I believe Seth was digging a little deeper than just "perception", for instance his use of "interoception", which is different.

    I was intrigued by his use of "best guess" formed by the billions of individual neurons of the brain. Something like a spell checker in a computer making and offering a best guess when a word is misspelled.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    True, but how do you know what you perceive is in fact reality? Did you see the gray square as lighter or as the same shade as the darker square?
    Or an illusion. In the case of the checker board it was an optical illusion, because it was our best guess based on our knowledge of shadows. It's all guesswork by the brain. At least that's how I understood Seth.
    and
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallucination
    I agree, but if you obsessively eat crusts of bread because you desperately want curly hair, it may land you in an institution....

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  22. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Don't muddy the topic with illusions (different perceptions from different persons or even the same person)
    Reality is something is out there with a physicality and able to be perceived in various ways
    Both (or more of my perceptions) equate to a something. The poor object can't help it's own reality or my view(s) of it

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    I spent some (not a lot) of nursing time in padded room wards - never saw a breadcrust eater wanting curly hair

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,085
    But we are not discussing reality, but "the difference between a delusion and a weird belief". Thus we are talking about internal mental processes, not about external reality.
    I never said they were a security risk, except perhaps to themselves. Eating only breadcrusts won't keep you healthy for very long.
    But many women and I'm sure some men desire curly hair. Women spend a lot of dough on perms....

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     

Share This Page