- autoscopic phenomenon
- Also known as phantom double. The expression autoscopic phenomenon comes from the Greek words autos (self) and skopeo (I am looking at). It translates roughly as 'a phenomenon that involves the seeing of oneself'. The group of autoscopic phenomena constitutes a class of * visual hallucinations depicting a reduplication of one's own physical body in extracorporeal space (i.e. what is sometimes called a * reduplicative hallucination). According to the Swiss neuroscientist Olaf Blanke and the German neuropsychologist Christine Mohr, the group comprises the conditions out-of-body experience (OBE), * autoscopic hallucination, and *heautoscopy. * Sensed presence is sometimes included in this group of phenomena as well. In the older literature, references can also be found to * negative autoscopy (characterized by the failure to perceive one's mirror image while looking into a mirror) and internal autoscopy (i.e. the purported ability to perceive one's own internal organs). Patho-physiologically, autoscopic phenomena are associated with aberrant activity in a region located at the temporo-parieto-occipital junction. Etiologi-cally, they are associated with a variety of conditions, including epileptic seizures, migraine, infections, neoplasms, * bereavement, a clinical diagnosis of *schizophrenia, and a clinical diagnosis of * dissociative disorder. The Dutch psychologist Bernardine J. Ensink (b. 1951), for example, found autoscopic phenomena to be frequently occurring symptoms in a group of 97 women with a history of sexual abuse. Autoscopic phenomena can also be idiopathic or self-induced, as seen in mystics such as the Spaniard Abraham Abu-lafia (1240-1291?). Considerable overlap exists between the literature on autoscopic phenomena andthatonthe *doppelgänger phenomenon. A classic self-report on autoscopic phenomena can be found in the work of the German chemist Ludwig Staudenmaier (1865-1933).ReferencesEnsink, B.J. (1992). Confusing realities: A study on child sexual abuse and psychiatric symptoms. Amsterdam: VU University Press.Dening, T.R., Berrios, G.E. (1994). Autoscopic phenomena. British Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 808-817.Brugger, P., Regard, M., Landis, Th. (1997). Illusory reduplication of one's own body: Phenomenology and classification of autoscopic phenomena. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry,2, 19-38.Blanke, O., Mohr, C. (2005). Out-of-body experience, heautoscopy, and autoscopic hallucination of neurological origin. Implications for neurocognitive mechanisms of corporeal awareness and self-consciousness. Brain Research Reviews, 50, 184-199.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.