- cinematographic vision
- The term cinematographic vision is indebted to the Greek words kinèma (movement) and graphein (to draw, to write, to etch, to paint). It was introduced in or shortly before 1970 by the British neurologist Oliver Wolf Sacks (b. 1933) to denote a transient type of *akinetopsia, i.e. a transient and selective deficit in the ability to perceive motion. An individual experiencing cinematographic vision typically perceives scenes as a rapidly flickering series of 'stills', as in a slide show, a kaleidoscope, or a dvd in fast-forward mode. In 1928 the German-American biological psychologist and philosopher Heinrich Klüver (1897-1979) presented an apt example of cinematographic vision avant la lettre when he wrote, "A person walking downstairs is only seen at three different places of the staircase. Thus the continuous movement of an object is inferred from the successive appearance of this object at different places. A person moving his hand to his face may see it at the beginning and at the end of the movement. Moving clouds may appear successively at different places. Under certain conditions, the moving object appears simultaneously at different places." Klüver's example is based on observations made during an experiment with the * hallucinogen mescaline. Etiologically, cinematographic vision is associated primarily with *aurae occurring in the context of paroxysmal neurological disorders such as migraine or epilepsy. Sometimes it can also be induced artificially with the aid of *hallucinogens such as LSD and mescaline, as in the example given by Klüver. The phenomenon has also been reported by individuals with a clinical diagnosis of * schizophrenia. When occurring in the context of a * migraine aura, the rate of flickering of the 'stills' is believed to be 6-12 per second, i.e. comparable to the rate of scintillation of *scotomata and * paraesthesiae in migraine. A return to normal vision is typically preceded by an increase in the rate of flickering. Although the pathophysiology of cinematographic vision is basically unknown, it is not unthinkable that there may be a parallel with the pathophysiological substrate of akinetopsia. Cinematographic vision is classified as a * sensory distortion. It should not be confused with *time distortions such as *tachypsychia, in which movements are perceived either as extremely slow or as extremely fast, due to an alteration in the perception of time.ReferencesKlüver, H. (1966). Mescal and Mechanisms of hallucinations. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Koch, C. (2004). The quest for consciousness. A neurobiological approach Englewood, CO: Roberts and Company Publishers.Sacks, O. (1992). Migraine. Revised and expanded. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.