- autoscopic hallucination
- Also referred to as external autoscopic hallucination, specular hallucination, mirror hallucination, deuteroscopic hallucination, and visual phantom double. The expression autoscopic hallucination can be traced to the Greek words autos (self) and skopeo (I am looking at). It translates roughly as 'a hallucination in which one sees oneself'. The term autoscopic hallucination was introduced in or shortly before 1891 by the French physician and mesmerist Charles Féré (1852-1907). Today it is used to denote a subclass of the group of *autoscopic phenomena characterized by the visual perception of an exact mirror image of one's physical body (also referred to as one's * double or *doppelgänger). Autoscopic hallucinations may be confined to the image of one's face or head and shoulders, but they can also consist of more or less complete bodily images. They typically manifest themselves within the central field of vision, although some cases of peripheral autoscopic hallucinations have been reported as well. The perceived location of autoscopic hallucinations tends to be contralateral to the affected hemisphere. Their perceived distance is often within or just beyond grasping distance from the hallucinator. The duration of autoscopic hallucinatory activity tends to be brief, on the order of several minutes. Autoscopic hallucinations may be preceded by * simple visual hallucinations. They are often accompanied by other types of * visual hallucina- -tions or *illusions. The term *polyopic autoscopy is used when more than one doppelgänger is perceived at the same time. In 1928, the German psy- ; chiatrist Wilhelm Mayer-Gross (1889-1961) pub- ' lished a case of polyopic autoscopy in which the affected individual described the entire room as being filled with doubles. Autoscopic hallucinations have been reported in neurological disorders (such as epilepsy, migraine, * delirium, brain tumour, ischaemia, and infection), in the context of psychiatric disorders (such as * psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and dissociative identity disorder), as well as during * hypnagogic or * hypnopompic states. In addition, a few case reports exist of autoscopic hallucinations manifesting in the hemianopic field in * hemianopia. Pathophysiologically, autoscopic hallucinations are associated with lesions or processes affecting an area at the temporo-parieto-occipital junction. Autoscopic hallucinations are sometimes classified as a variant of the group of * reduplicative hallucinations. A classic self-report on autoscopic hallucinations, as well as on personifications (i.e. *compound hallucinations depicting other human beings) can be found in the work of the German chemist Ludwig Stau-denmaier (1865-1933).ReferencesFéré, Ch. (1891). Note sur les hallucinations autoscopiques ou spéculaires et sur les hallucinations altruistes. Comptes Rendues Heb-domedaires des Séances et Mémoirs de la Société de la Biologie, 3, 451-453. Staudenmaier, L. (1912). Die Magie als experimentelle Naturwissenschaft. Leipzig: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft. Mayer-Gross, W. (1928). Psychopathologie und Klinik der Trugwahrnehmungen.In: Handbuch der Geisteskrankheiten. Band I. Allgemeiner Teil I. Edited by Bumke, O. Berlin: Verlag von Julius Springer. Bhaskaran, R., Kumar, A., Nayar, P.C. (1990). Autoscopy in hemianopic field. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 53, 10161017.Brugger, P., Blanke, O., Regard, M., Bradford, D.T., Landis, Th. (2006). Polyopic heau-toscopy: Case report and review of the literature. Cortex, 42, 666-674.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.