- Also known as conversive blindness. The term hysterical blindness is indebted to the term hysteria, which is in turn indebted to the Greek noun hustera (uterus). The term hysteria reflects the ancient conviction that some types of mental illness in women are causally related to a disease of the uterus, in some versions a 'wandering uterus'. The term hysterical blindness is used to denote a failure to consciously perceive an object or stimulus which is present in the extracorporeal world and which lies within the subject's field of vision. This allegedly 'hysterical' failure is traditionally designated as a " negative hallucination. Conceptually as well as phenomenologically, hysterical blindness differs from true "blindness in that it is transient and reversible, that it can be evoked by suggestion or autosuggestion, and that the resulting 'blindness' may confine itself to a physiologically unlikely segment of the visual field. An individual with hysterical blindness can be exclusively blind, for example, for an object or person within their range of vision. A further phenomenolog-ical difference between hysterical blindness and true blindness is that the implicit or unconscious perception of the object or stimulus may remain intact, as can be inferred from priming tests. This is the reason why hysterical blindness is usually conceptualized as a failure of conscious visual perception.ReferencesMack, A., Rock, I. (1998). Inattentionalblindness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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