IT’S COMPLICATED –
Jan. 21, 2023 – In a similar way, altered states of consciousness, such as those induced by psychedelic drugs or low oxygen levels, involve normal levels of arousal but disorganized sensory experiences.
These can include hallucinations of sounds, smells, or sights, but also synesthesia, when there is cross-talk between usually discrete senses, such as sounds that evoke visual experiences.
People in a coma, or under anesthesia, can have levels of wakefulness and awareness that are even lower than during non-REM sleep.
Meanwhile, in a strange hybrid state of consciousness known as unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, or a vegetative state, patients undergo daily cycles of sleep and wakefulness, but without showing any sign of awareness.
Despite spending long periods with their eyes open, they do not exhibit behavioral responses to external stimuli.