Illusion – Depending on the right decisions of the senses, we can move, eat and drink and take all the necessary decisions. Our senses are faithful friends and direction indicators to do all kinds of things including resisting danger or all kinds of decisions making. There is no exception to this rule for any age.

But if it happens that our faithful friend sensation gets spoiled for some reason or starts to become disturbed or gives us wrong information then what will happen! Then nothing will be measured accurately. There will be a problem to make any decision. ‘Illusion’ is such an inaccurate or changed the feeling of information measurement of our senses.

What is Illusion?
We know that people or any other animal can get information about the situation of the environment and experience everything through the senses. In ‘Illusion’, the feelings of senses are felt differently that means these don’t give the right indications. The senses become unable to accept or provide the right feeling; some are distorted or mutated. So it becomes possible to easily create a misconception about a subject, object and even an event. The sense of feeling is called ‘perception’ in science, and ‘illusion’ is ‘distorted perception’ or changed feelings.

Illusion can be created by any of these five types of human senses. The change can happen in any of these senses: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Illusion can be created in some other special situations too.

In short, when the normal feeling that we have in any situation gets changed, less or more, it is called ‘illusion’. Visual, eyes, illusion is common but there can be problems in any other senses too.

What Happens?
There is an ancient proverb in Bengali that “serpent delusion in rage”. Sometimes a rope may seem like a snake in light shades. The difference between hallucination and illusion is that the object is completely absent in hallucination but the object is present in illusion but it may be perceived differently or altered by the person’s senses.

A tree standing so far in light shade may seem like a man. Likewise, other senses can behave in such a manner. While in the closed room, the sounds of the roar of the sky may seem like a shootout; mechanical sound may sound like crying; the flavor of a certain food may seem like the flavor of another food.

Cognitive Illusion
Cognitive Illusion is a special kind of feeling. Normally, the feelings received through various senses create a different or composite feeling in the human mind and we call that as intellection or sixth sense. Changes can happen to the sixth sense in the case of illusion. Understanding a topic can lead to confusing or another meaning; which is also called ‘cognitive illusions’. A group of people standing in the darkness can make the person think that they are standing there to kill him. But the people may be standing there for some other reasons. In order to create cognitive illusions in people or target groups, a program can be given and the apparent meaning is maybe the same, but the implicit meaning is quite different. The special environment which is created in dramas or cinemas by lights or music is also one kind of illusion.

Why Does Illusion happen?
Scientifically illusion is the lack of stimulation or excessive stimulation for the normal feeling. Illusion can occur in both healthy and ill condition. Manipulation of the stimulation obtained from the environment and the illness of the senses, both, are the reasons for illusion.

Due to the lack of light, the rope may seem like a snake but in clear light, it is just the rope. Again, if the rope is away from full light, it may also seem like a snake. Illusion can be created because of full, accurate, moderate and transparent stimulation.

Things happen in the case of illness
Most of the cases depend on the stimulus received from the environment in the case of healthy people. But there can be two types of problems in the case of ill people. One, the difference in the environment or any of the problems in the senses or sensitivities can be reduced or increased. Delirium is the most common condition of these. Illusion can be created with high fever, special mental disorders, any stages of intoxication, brain tumor, electrolyte imbalance and any other major physical problems.

Again, healthy people can also experience illusion due to excessive tiredness, less sleep, extreme hunger, excessive fear and excessive cold or hot. It can also happen for the reaction of high powered medicines.

The small things can seem to be big or big things to be small in illusion. Likewise, the color also changes like white into black or black into white. Illusion is related to mental state. For example, when anyone has a ‘delusion’ that someone can harm him, in that case, if a common man enters his house, he will think the person is there to harm him.

The normal use of Illusion
It is used in the magic industry the most. Illusion is also used in different types of paintings. Illusions are also made in dramas, films and even in the big stage shows most of which are visual or cognitive illusions.

There is one type of picture used in psychoanalysis and this type of illusive picture is used in the judicial and intellectual manner of human judgment.

The issues must be taken seriously in the case of illness. Any major accident or danger can be caused due to the immediate reaction of illusion. Someone can be seriously injured by being afraid or mistaken.

Illusion is very short-term in the normal case. If the illusion is occurring because of excessive fatigue or sleeping problems, it will be alright very soon. But if it is the disease, the affected person should consult the expert doctor quickly.

Professor Dr. Shalahuddin Qusar Biplob

Professor and Coordinator- Psychiatric Sex Clinic, Dept. of Psychiatry, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University- BSMMU, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Former Mental Skills Consultant, Bangladesh Cricket Board


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