Visual hallucinatory syndromes and the anatomy of the visual brain

Brain. 2000 Oct;123 ( Pt 10):2055-64. doi: 10.1093/brain/123.10.2055.


We have set out to identify phenomenological correlates of cerebral functional architecture within Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) hallucinations by looking for associations between specific hallucination categories. Thirty-four CBS patients were examined with a structured interview/questionnaire to establish the presence of 28 different pathological visual experiences. Associations between categories of pathological experience were investigated by an exploratory factor analysis. Twelve of the pathological experiences partitioned into three segregated syndromic clusters. The first cluster consisted of hallucinations of extended landscape scenes and small figures in costumes with hats; the second, hallucinations of grotesque, disembodied and distorted faces with prominent eyes and teeth; and the third, visual perseveration and delayed palinopsia. The three visual psycho-syndromes mirror the segregation of hierarchical visual pathways into streams and suggest a novel theoretical framework for future research into the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric syndromes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Hallucinations / pathology*
  • Hallucinations / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / pathology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / pathology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology