A phenomenology of meditation-induced light experiences: traditional buddhist and neurobiological perspectives
Comparing the phenomenology, neurochemical pathology, and psychopharmacology of hallucinations and dreaming is limited by the available data. Evidence to date reveals no simple correspondence between the two states. Differences in the phenomenology of visual hallucinations and the visual component of dreams may reflect variations in visual context acting on the same underlying mechanism - the minimal visual input during dreaming contrasts with the more substantial perceived context in hallucinations. Variations in cholinergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotransmitter function during sleep and during hallucinations in Lewy body dementias, together with relevant drug effects suggest that, on the whole, different, potentially opposite, changes characterise the two states. A similar analysis of other psychotic features in Lewy body dementia and other disorders suggests that, in contrast to hallucinations, there may be more convincing parallels between dreaming and delusional states.