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3. German Retrospect.

  • William W. Ireland (a1)

Dr. H. Lissauer (“Archiv. für Psychiatrie,” xxi. Band, 1 Heft) details a case of soul-blindness (Seelenblindheit), and then sets himself to clear up our conception of what this deficiency really is. It is through the hope of this latter promise being fulfilled that I have pored through the fifty pages of the “Archiv.,” and after performing such a task one feels reluctant to admit that his labour has been in vain. Munk, whose experiments first led to the conception of soul-blindness, believes that the power of receiving the impression from visual images as well as the seat of the memory of these images is located in the occipital lobe. Reinhard thinks that the perception of space and form is dependent upon the integrity of the superficial layer of the visual zone. Wilbrand assigns to one spot in the cortex the recognition of optical images, and to an adjoining part of the cortex the memory of such images. In the published cases describing the results following injury to the occipital lobe, there is noted a loss of visual power, but it is not clearly defined what this loss consists in. The case described by Lissauer was a man 80 years of age, of a neurotic constitution, but good general health considering his age. He had suffered for two years from attacks of giddiness, and sometimes fell on the ground. The intelligence seemed on the whole to be well preserved, though there was some loss of memory, and in relating old stories he confused the sequence of time. There was presbyopia and complete right-sided hemiopia. The parting line of vision lay a little to the right of the fixation point, so that central vision was preserved in both eyes. The sense of colours remained good, and he could write quite well, but he had in great part lost the faculty of recognizing objects by sight, though when he was allowed to use his other senses he soon made them out. The vision of stereoscopic objects was destroyed, but when one needle was laid upon another he could tell which was the nearest to him, and he generally took the measure of objects correctly. The power of reading was nearly destroyed; he could not even read what he had written a short time before, and the capacity for drawing known objects was much impaired. The old man was interested in his own case, and readily lent himself to inquiries and experiments, the results of which are given in detail. For example, a candle was held before him; he said it was a drawing pencil, and at last made it out correctly. A clothes brush being shown to him, he said it was a cat, and it being objected that it was too small for a cat, he said it was an artificial cat. He then pointed out where the head, tail, and four paws were; but on touching it he at once said that it was a clothes brush. On being shown a cow and calf, he said it was a young and old animal; then he said “cattle.” On being asked, Where is the head? he pointed to the hinder part of the cow. On being asked where the horns were, he indicated them correctly. On being shown a coffee mill, he said it was an ink bottle; but when the handle was turned he immediately recognized it. Being shown a picture of the Emperor William, he said it is “our Kaiser, the old one.” He also recognized at once a picture of Napoleon.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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3. German Retrospect.

  • William W. Ireland (a1)
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