Neurologist V.S. Ramachandran on Anosognosia

Leading neurologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran presents his groundbreaking research into Anosognosia; a condition in which a person who suffers disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability.

He discusses confabulating patients having suffered cerebro-vascular accidents to the right hemisphere who appear to rationalize their denial, a strategy of the adaptive ego—claiming, for example, that an arthritic shoulder prevents movement of their left arm. This denial, claims Ramachandran, is a defensive strategy of the left hemisphere, which maintains the stability of the ego.

In his account, the right hemisphere deals with discordance, and it simply neglects the left side of the world. Anosognosia is therefore a dysfunction of the belief system. Recently characterized by Georg Northoff as “the nodal point between philosophy and the neurosciences”

Presented at the 5th International Neuropsychoanalysis Congress, Rome 2005

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