- polyopic heautoscopy
- The term polyopic heautoscopy comes from the Greek words polus (much, many), opsis (seeing), heautou ('of oneself'), and skopeô (I am looking at). It translates loosely as 'seeing [something of] oneself in multiple images'. The term is used to denote a variant of * heautoscopy in which multiple * doubles are perceived. The ensuing coexistence of similar images within the field of vision is called * multiplication. The earliest known account of polyopic heautoscopy was published in 1826 by the German physiologist and zoologist Johannes Peter Müller (1801-1858). As Müller recounts, "One day, after having been involved in a lively scientific debate and without food for a while, Professor X returned home. His way led him through a field with clumps of trees. Suddenly, he saw between 12 and 15 copies ofhimself at various stages of life. His doubles were attired according to their presumed age and hence some wore clothes no longer in fashion. They walked around paying little attention to one another. The professor needed to make a great mental effort to convince himself that he was experiencing a hallucination and to conjure the copies away. This experience was more than just seeing a double." In 2006, the Swiss neuroscientists Peter Brugger et al. reported a case of polyopic heautoscopy in a 41-year-old man who saw two male and three female doubles (also referred to as heterosexual heautoscopy) in the right hemispace. These doubles would speak to him, and mimic his movements and gestures (a phenomenon known as heautoscopic echopraxia). The appearance of the doubles was preceded by the subject's sensation of being split into two halves, along the median line of the body. The heautoscopic hallucinations were associated with a tumour in the right insular region of the left temporal lobe. Other known cases in the literature have been attributed to tumours and/or focal epileptic seizures in the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes. Although any of these areas may be involved in the mediation of polyopic heautoscopy, the condition tends to be attributed primarily to focal damage to the temporo-parietal junction of either hemisphere.ReferencesBrugger, 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.Müller, J. (1826). Ueber die phantastischen Gesichtserscheinungen. Koblenz: Hölscher.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.