A Study of Manifestations of Hallucinations in a Non-Psychiatric Population of Caribbean Descent

A. M. Izquierdo, Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering, 2000, 61, 5, 2764.

Abstract: Throughout history, reports of errors of perception have been found in psychotic and non-psychotic populations. This study following the research conducted on this topic in the last 20 years had as its purpose the development and application of a questionnaire to research the construct of hallucinations, in a non-psychiatric population of Caribbean an descent residing in the United States. The questionnaire was developed and found reliable and valid. Once created, the questionnaire was applied to individuals of this population primarily residing in Dade County, Florida, and to the same population throughout the United States via the internet. The results obtained support the expectation of high incidence and frequency of reports of hallucinations within a non-psychiatric population of Caribbean descent. Further, these results support the fact that culture and tradition play an important role in the way reality is perceived, and interpreted, creating beliefs and experiences that may seem to be hallucinations according to our current definition of this term. Hence hallucinations alone are to be taken as a weak symptom of psychological instability at least in the population of Caribbean descent.

The results of this study further strengthen the need to conduct additional research on the topic of hallucinations reported by the normal population, to help perform more accurate assessments, diagnosis a treatment when reports of hallucinations are presented at time of Psychological interview by the general population.