- Also known as flickering consciousness. The term dream scintillation is indebted to the Latin noun scintilla (spark). It was introduced in or shortly before 1949 by the American neurobiologist Alexander Forbes (1882-1965) to denote abrief,dream-likeflashofwhatseemstobe a dream memory occurring to the waking, unclouded mind. In Forbes's original self-report, episodes of dream scintillations sometimes lasted for hours. They consisted of chaotic, kaleidoscopic sequences of "visual hallucinations reminiscent of the type of dream image that one may experience while falling asleep. They came at a rapid-fire sequence, and were accompanied, in Forbes's case, by disorientation in time, as well as a subjective sense of estrangement. Four out of five of these episodes were preceded by strong emotional stimuli plus strenuous physical exertion. According to the American psychiatrists Mardi Jon Horowitz (b. 1934) et al., dream scintillations are phenomenologically different from * hypnagogic hallucinations and dreams, in that they display a non-linear, flickering quality, and defy any attempt at psychoanalytic interpretation. In conformity with the opinion voiced by the Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Graves Pen-field (1891-1976), Horowitz et al. argue that "the phenomenon bears sufficient resemblance to occurrences in persons with temporal-lobe seizures that it might be considered a minor variant or forme fruste of temporal-lobe epilepsy triggered by metabolic fatigue or local circulatory factors." They propose the term 'flickering consciousness' as an alternative to Forbes's expression 'dream scintillation'. Conceptually as well as phenomenologically, dream scintillations would seem to be related to aurae occurring in the context of paroxysmal neurological disorders such as migraine and epilepsy, notably *visual aura, * psychic aura, and * persistent aura without infarction.ReferencesForbes, A. (1949). Dream scintillations. Psychosomatic Medicine, 11, 160-163.Horowitz, M.J., Adams, J.E., Rutkin, B. (1967). Dream scintillations. Psychosomatic Medicine, 29, 284-292.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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