Mirrored self-misidentification


Mirrored self-misidentification

Mirrored self-misidentification is the delusional belief that one's reflection in a mirror is some other person (often believed to be someone who is following them around). Often people who suffer from this delusion are not delusional about anything else. It is considered to be a monothematic delusion and sometimes also labeled as a delusional misidentification syndrome. This disorder is often found within the context of dementia and can also be caused by the organic disfunction resulting from traumatic brain injury, stroke, or neurological illness.

As a disease, this rare behavior cannot be diagnosed in a kind of animal which does not normally understand the nature of a mirror.

Causes

Like other monothematic delusions, mirrored self-misidentification is currently thought to be initially caused by a neurological defect, typically in the right hemisphere, which affects one's experience. Current research points toward two potential disfunctions that may lead to this disorder:
* Patients who have impaired face perception and thus can no longer recognize themselves (similar to Capgras delusion)
* Patients who have lost the ability to interact appropriately with mirrors.

In fiction

In an episode of , a man was found dead in his apartment with his sister, who claims she was attacked by a woman who had somehow entered their apartment twice before. It was eventually revealed that the woman had Capgras syndrome and that the "intruder" was actually her own reflected image in various surfaces. It was during the last "struggle" with the "intruder" that she accidentally killed her brother. This was later confirmed during interrogation when she tried attacking her own reflection in the interrogation room's two-way mirror.

In the 2008 film The Eye, Jessica Alba's character experiences visions of paranormal experiences and suffers from Mirrored self-misidentification, referred to in the story as cellular memory.

References

# [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11459919&dopt=Abstract Breen N, Caine D, Coltheart M. (2001).] Mirrored-self misidentification: two cases of focal onset dementia. "Neurocase, 7"(3), 239-54.

ee also

* Cognitive neuropsychiatry
* Delusion


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