The Life of the Mind: Selected Papers

By Jason W. Brown | Go to book overview

6 Microstructure of Images*

Jason W. Brown


INTRODUCTION

Over the years from Esquirol to Henri Ey ( 1973) many works on hallucination have appeared. For the most part, these are accounts of hallucinations in schizophrenia or states of delirium and drug intoxication, really little more than a catalog of hallucinatory forms with no attempt to relate the hallucination to perceptual physiology or regional brain function. The result has been a complex phenomenology, a few pseudo-theories, a lack of neurological hypotheses and much scholarly disputation. The one thing that is clear from this work is that an approach to the problem of hallucination should be grounded, not in the symptom content, which is too rich for interpretation, but on patterns of hallucinatory experience. If such patterns can be identified, and can be shown to correspond with damage to specific brain areas, they may be comprehensible in terms of a general theory of perception ( Brown 1983b).

The search for these patterns is not an easy matter, for there are many different and seemingly unique forms of imagery. Yet, all image phenomena overlap in some characteristics. A memory or a thought image and an eidetic image share the feature of an active volitional character, while the eidetic and after-image occur in relation to an external object. An hallucination, an eidetic, and a dream image may have the same content. The after-image enlarges according to the viewer's distance from the projection surface, but this also occurs in the early stages of alcoholic hallucinosis ( Morsier 1938). After-images share with phosphenes or elementary visual hallucinations the characteristic of displacement with eye movements (Brindley and Lewin 1968). Objects and, in my experience, thought images may move slightly in a direction opposite a shift in gaze. Displacement does not occur for eidetic images and hallucinations. However, attempts to scan, fixate, or attend to an hallucination may result in its disappearance. This is not simply a

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*
From "Imagery and the Microstructure of Perception" by J. W. Brown, 1985, Journal of Neurolinguistics, 1( 1), 89-128. Copyright 1985 by Journal of Neurolinguistics. Adapted by permission.

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The Life of the Mind: Selected Papers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Preface v
  • Introduction: Microgenetic Theory 1
  • I - Language 27
  • 1 - Language Representation in the Brain 29
  • Notes 99
  • 3 - Thalamic Mechanisms in Language 100
  • 4 - Selections on Aphasia and Lateralization 121
  • II - Perception 171
  • 5 - Microstructure of Objects 173
  • 6 - Microstructure of Images 206
  • 7 - Essay on Perception 252
  • III - Action 275
  • 8 - Frontal Lobes and the Organization of Action 277
  • 9 - The Microstructure of Action 302
  • 10 - The Problem of Perseveration 322
  • IV - 2 333
  • 11 - Toward a Microgenetic Theory of Memory 335
  • 12 - Emergence and Time 357
  • References 372
  • Author Index 419
  • Subject Index 431
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