Brief Communication | Published:

Induction of an illusory shadow person

Subjects

Abstract

Stimulation of a site on the brain's left hemisphere prompts the creepy feeling that somebody is close by.

The strange sensation that somebody is nearby when no one is actually present has been described by psychiatric and neurological patients, as well as by healthy subjects, but it is not understood how the illusion is triggered by the brain1,2. Here we describe the repeated induction of this sensation in a patient who was undergoing presurgical evaluation for epilepsy treatment, as a result of focal electrical stimulation of the left temporoparietal junction: the illusory person closely 'shadowed' changes in the patient's body position and posture. These perceptions may have been due to a disturbance in the multisensory processing of body and self at the temporoparietal junction.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Brugger, P., Regard, M. & Landis, T. Neuropsychiatr. Neuropsychol. Behav. Neurol. 9, 114–122 (1996).

  2. 2

    Critchley, M. Acta Psychiatr. Neurol. Scand. 30, 155–168 (1955).

  3. 3

    Jaspers, K. General Psychopathology (Manchester Univ. Press, Manchester, 1972).

  4. 4

    Blanke, O., Ortigue, S., Coeytaux, A., Martory, M. D. & Landis, T. Neurocase 9, 329–339 (2003).

  5. 5

    Blanke, O., Landis, T., Spinelli, L. & Seeck, M. Brain 127, 243–258 (2004).

  6. 6

    Ruby, P. & Decety, J. Nature Neurosci. 4, 546–550 (2001).http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v4/n5/abs/nn0501_546.html

  7. 7

    Farrer, C. et al. Psychiatr. Res. 131, 31–44 (2004).

  8. 8

    Blakemore, S.-J., Wolpert, D. M. & Frith, C. D. Trends Cogn. Sci. 6, 237–242 (2002).

  9. 9

    Thompson, C. Br. J. Psychiatr. 141, 628–630 (1982).

  10. 10

    Blanke, O., Perrig, S., Thut, G., Landis, T. & Seeck, M. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatr. 69, 553–556 (2000).

Download references

Author information

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Correspondence to Olaf Blanke.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary information (PDF 88 kb)

Rights and permissions

To obtain permission to re-use content from this article visit RightsLink.

About this article

Further reading

Figure 1: Me and my shadow.

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.