physiological hallucination

   The term physiological hallucination is used to denote a hallucination occurring in the absence of any other psychopathology, and in the presence of preserved insight. It was used in 1845 by the French alienist Alexandre Jacques François Brierre de Boismont (1797-1881) to denote a hallucination which is compatible with reason, and which can sometimes be evoked at will. As Brierre de Boismont wrote, "Physiological hallucination is constantly in touch with the dominant thought, the mother idea, the ideal; it is an echo, an adjunct, a stimulant which decides the success. Whatever its duration, it has the same force at the start as at the end and it does not trouble the reason." Brierre de Boismont's notion of physiological hallucination includes the *ecstatic vision. As he wrote, "It is certain that the most celebrated men have been liable to hallucinations, without their conduct offering any signs of mental alienation." Brierre de Boismont used Joan of Arc as an example, asserting that "the voices, the visions, the sensations of touch and smell of Jeanne d'Arc were true hallucinations, in essence identical with those of the insane." A few years later the French physician A. Piroux (1803?-1884?) formulated a rather similar definition, asserting that "a physiological hallucination is one that is entirely independent of any morbid state whatsoever." Both men used the term physiological hallucination in opposition to the term *pathological hallucination. As Brierre de Boismont stated, "However much the mind may be concerned in the production of hallucinations, they cannot all be referred to this source; there are others which are produced by disease, by certain substances introduced into the body, &c. The phenomena remain essentially the same, but the cause of them is different. For this reason we have divided hallucinations into two classes - those depending on moral causes, and those depending on physical causes."
   Brierre de Boismont, A. (1859). On hallucinations. A history and explanation of apparitions, visions dreams ecstasy magnetism and somnambulism. Translated by Hulme, R.T. London: Henry Renshaw.
   Leudar, I., Thomas, P. (2000). Voices ofreason, voices ofinsanity. Studies ofverbal hallucinations. London: Routledge.
   Piroux, A. (1861). Fragments d'études sur les hallucinations. Thèse Université de Montpellier.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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