Perspective distortions

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Size distortions by Anonymous - This image serves as an accurate portrayal of the commonly experienced effect known as perspective distortions.

Perspective distortions can be described as subtle to extreme changes in how one perceives the size and distance attributed to a person’s body, to specific parts of the external environment, or to the external environment as a whole.[1][2]

This effect is capable of manifesting itself in 4 different ways which may reflect the failure of each respective responsible visual function.[1][3][4][5][6]

  • Macropsia - Objects are perceived larger than their actual size.
  • Micropsia - Objects are perceived smaller than their actual size.
  • Pelopsia - Objects are perceived nearer than they actually are.
  • Teleopsia - Objects are perceived much further away than they actually are.

When affecting distance, perspective distortions can make things seem as if they are physically closer or further away than they usually would be. This can range from a subtle experience, such as the other side of the room feeling marginally further away than it usually would be, to an extreme experience, such as feeling as if the horizon is right in front of you.

When affecting size, perspective distortions can make things seem as if they are physically smaller or larger in terms of the sense of size that one would usually attribute to them.[7][8][9] This can range from a subtle experience, such as the room feeling marginally smaller and more cramped than it usually would be, to an extreme experience, such as feeling as if the room is hundreds of miles wide.

Perspective distortions are often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as depth perception distortions and visual disconnection. They are most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP, MXE, and DXM.

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Feelings of suddenly having an impossibly giant or tiny body are also a very common manifestation of this effect. This feeling is already known by the scientific literature as “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome”, where it is seen as a temporary condition often associated with migraines, brain tumours, and the use of psychoactive drugs.[1][10] The effect can either be attributed to the body as a whole or specific parts of it. For example, feelings of having a huge head or tiny limbs are possible.

Psychoactive substances

Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:

Experience reports

Anecdotal reports which describe this effect within our experience index include:

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lev-Ran, S. (2015). LSD-associated" Alice in Wonderland Syndrome"(AIWS): A Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) Case Report. The Israel journal of psychiatry and related sciences, 52(1), 67-68.
  2. Halberstadt, A. L. (2015). Recent advances in the neuropsychopharmacology of serotonergic hallucinogens. Behavioural brain research, 277, 99-120.
  3. Lerner AG, Gelkopf M, Skladman I, Oyffe I, Finkel B, Sigal M, Weizman A. Flashback and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder: Clinical aspects and pharmacological treatment approach. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci 2002, 39: 92-99
  4. . Lerner AG, Rudinski D, Goodman C.and Lev Ran S. Flashback and HPPD: LSD flashbacks – The appearance of new visual imagery not experienced during initial intoxication: Two case reports. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci 2014; 51:307-309.
  5. Abe K, Oda N, Araki R, Igata M. Macropsia, micropsia, and episodic illusions in Japanese adolescents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1989; 28:493-496.
  6. Schneck JM. Macropsia. Am J Psychiatry 1965; 121:1123-1124.
  7. Abraham, H. D. (1983). Visual phenomenology of the LSD flashback. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 40(8), 884-889.
  8. Horowitz MJ: Flashbacks: Recurrent intrusive images after the use of LSD. Am J Psychiatry 1969;126:565-569.
  9. Hamilton M (ed): Fish's Clinical Psychopathology. Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins Co, 1974.'s%20Clinical%20Psychopathology.&f=false
  10. Blom, J. D. (2016). Alice in Wonderland syndrome A systematic review. Neurology: Clinical Practice, 6(3), 259-270.