- conversive hallucination
- Also known as conversion hallucination. Both terms are used to denote a hallucination attributed to * sensory conversion. Sensory conversion is conceptualized as an unconscious process by means of which anxiety, generated by an intrapsychical conflict, is transformed into a perceptual symptom. Conversive symptoms are by definition suggestive of a neurological disorder, although upon state-of-the-art clinical examination they remain inexplicable. The term conversive hallucination is traditionally used in opposition to the term *psychotic hallucination, so as to emphasize its purportedly non-psychotic origin. Although the conceptual distinction between conversive and psychotic hallucinations is not self-evident, it has been claimed that conversive hallucinations are relatively rare, and that they tend to occur in the form of recurring *complex visual, *scenic, and/or *auditory hallucinations depicting prior experiences from the affected individual's life, especially when these are emotionally charged. In older, clinical studies, conversive hallucinations are reported in up to 88% of the individuals with a clinical diagnosis of hysteria. Classical examples of conversive hallucinations include those depicting a previously witnessed traumatic scene, those re-enacting prior physical or sexual abuse, and those depicting a fervently wished-for, but practically impossible situation (such as the wish for a relationship with a married person, or with a person of the same sex). Explanatory models for the mediation of conversive hallucinations tend to revolve around the notion of * dissociation with restricted awareness, meaning that percepts that would normally be appreciated as endogenous or imaginary in nature, are considered real because of a certain misinterpretation and/or misperception, which is in turn attributed to a restricted awareness. A competing model to these 'dissociative' models is the cognitive model, which attributes the mediation of conversive hallucinations to the so-called extension ofthoughts to images, known in the older literature as *perceptualization of the concept. Conversive hallucinations are generally classified as *psychogenic hallucinations. Conceptually as well as phe-nomenologically, they would seem to display a certain similarity to Freud's * hallucinatory confusion.ReferencesModai, I., Cygielman, G. (1986). Conversion hallucinations - A possible mental mechanism. Psychopathology, 19, 324-326.Sirota, P., Spivac, B., Meshulam, B. (1987). Con-versive hallucinations. British Journal ofPsy-chiatry, 151, 844-846.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.