- memory hallucination
- Also known as hallucinatory memory, hallucination of memory, and memory illusion. The German expression Halluzination der Erinnerung was introduced in or shortly before 1866 by the German psychiatrist Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum (1828-1899) to denote a hallucination consisting of a re-enactment of a previously perceived object or scene (i.e. a "reperceptive hallucination). In 1888 the term was used somewhat differently by the American idealist philosopher Josiah Royce (1855-1916), as a fantastic false memory that is conjured up retrospectively, so as to serve as a foreboding of a meaningful experience. He arrived at this concept by reflecting on the many cases of "coincidental hallucinations listed in the book Phantasms of the Living by the British paranormal researchers Edmund Gurney (1847-1888), Frederic Myers (1843-1901), and Frank Podmore (1856-1910). Many of these coincidental hallucinations have a bearing on dead or dying individuals, experienced around their actual hour of death. As Royce asked himself, "Why should people who have no interest in believing in telepathy, who are themselves often despisers of the whole idea, and also haters of all superstitions, whose own personal honesty is undoubted, and whose memory is generally good - why should such people suddenly believe and relate that, at some very recent time, just before an affliction, or at the moment of a calamity, they knew, or were warned, by dream or presentiment, of the distant, and, for them, otherwise unknowable fact of the affliction or calamity in question?" Royce answered this question by suggesting that "in such cases we probably have to do with a not yet recognised type of instantaneous hallucination of memory, existing in the fancy at the very moment ofsome exciting experience, that one has expected it before its coming." The German psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) distinguishes three criteria characteristic of hallucinations of memory as conceptualized by Royce. He suggests that the affected individual tends to be convinced that he or she had forgotten about the event, that the hallucinated memory is freshly created, and that it comes to the individual's mind all of a sudden. Today Royce's hallucination of memory is sometimes referred to as " acute confabu-latory psychosis. As the German hallucinations researcher Edmund Parish (1861-1916) points out, Royce's use of the term hallucination in this context is disputable because it would not seem to refer to a perceptual experience. In 1886, 2 years before Royce's publication on the subject, the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) referred to this phenomenon as Erinnerungsfälschung (memory deception), which is perhaps a more apt term. Kraepelin, in turn, had been inspired by the notion of Erinnerungstäuschung put forward by his compatriot Wilhelm Sander (1838-1922). With hindsight, the notions of hallucination of memory, Erinnerungsfälschung,and Erinnerungstäuschung are considered part of a conceptual tradition involving 'qualitative' memory disturbances called paramnesias.ReferencesJaspers, K. (1997). Generalpsychopathology. Volume 1. Translated by Hoenig, J., Hamilton, M.W. Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press.Kahlbaum, K. (1866). Die Sinnesdelirien. Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie und psychischgerichtliche Medizin, 23, 56-78.Koehler, K., Jacoby, C. (1978). Acute confabula-tory psychosis: A rare form of unipolar mania? Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 57, 415-425.Kraepelin, E. (1886). Ueber Erinnerungsfälschungen. Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, 17, 830-843.Markovâ, I.S., Berrios, G.E. (2000). Paramnesias and delusions of memory. In: Memory disorders in psychiatric practice. Edited by Berrios, G.E., Hodges, J.R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Royce, J. (1888). Hallucination of memory and 'telepathy'. Mind, 13, 244-248.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.