- hallucination in braille
- The expression hallucination in Braille refers to the configurations of raised dots invented by the Frenchman Louis Braille (1809-1852) as a medium of communication for individuals with poor vision or *blindness. The notion of hallucination in braille was introduced by the American neurologist and psychiatrist Walter Jackson Freeman (1895-1972) and his colleague Jonathan M. Williams. In 1953 they reported the case of a woman who was virtually blind and yet experienced * visual hallucinations depicting words in braille which flashed in front of her eyes or forehead simultaneously with her own conscious thoughts. For example, when the woman thought the words defense plant, she would hallucinate those same words visually in braille. Reportedly, the visual hallucinations (as well as the * auditory hallucinations from which she suffered) disappeared after a right-sided amygdaloidectomy. In their paper, Freeman and Williams cite this case to support their suggestion that the amygdala plays a part in the conversion of thought processes into motor movements of the larynx (a prerequisite of ordinary speech, but also of instances of *subvocalization) or into hallucinatory percepts occurring in one of the other sensory modalities. Although the hallucinations in braille described by Freeman and Williams can perhaps be best classified as a special case of * Gedankenlautwerden, it would seem equally defensible to regard them as * visual verbal hallucinations.ReferencesFreeman, W., Williams, J.M. (1953). Hallucinations in braille: Effects of amygdaloidectomy. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 70, 630-634.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.