blank hallucination
   The term blank hallucination was introduced in or shortly before 1961 by the German-American psychoanalyst Max M. Stern (18951982) to denote a collection of simple hallucinatory phenomena such as the sense that one is floating in space, changes in equilibrium, perceived changes in body size (i.e. * macro- and * microsomatognosia), hazy blurrings of perception, and so-called cloudlike phenomena, as well as some types of * formed hallucinations. In Stern's own words, "Blank hallucinations are stereotyped sensory perceptions without appropriate external stimuli. Lacking any content related to persons, objects, or events, they are close to elementary hallucinations as which we designate such unformed perceptions as sparks, lightning streaks, cloudlike phenomena, etc. They differ in intensity, frequency, and duration, ranging from formes frustes like hazy blurring of perception, to full hallucinations. They may last a few seconds, or minutes, hours, or months." In conformity with the psychoanalytic theory, Stern suggests that blank hallucinations often make their first appearance in childhood, primarily around the oedipal phase. Moreover, he maintains that blank hallucinations can recur throughout the individual's life in response to stress or frustration, either as an accompanying symptom of emotional states such as anger or rage, or as a * hypnagogic phenomenon before falling asleep. Stern conceptualizes blank hallucinations as a collection of early defense mechanisms that mimic the soothing experience of suckling at the breast. The term blank hallucination is sometimes used in a wider sense to include the * Isakower phenomenon, the * dream screen, and abstract perceptions.
   References
   Campbell, R.J. (1996). Psychiatric dictionary. Seventh edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
   Stern, M.M. (1961). Blank hallucinations: Remarks about trauma and perceptual disturbances. International Journal of PsychoAnalysis, 42, 205-215.
   Tarbox, R. (1967). Blank hallucinations in the fiction of Poe and Hemingway. American Imago, 24, 312-343.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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