Dangerousness of the delusional misidentification of children

J Forensic Sci. 1992 May;37(3):830-8.


Misidentification syndromes have been studied from a variety of perspectives, including phenomenological, biological, and nosological approaches. More recently, misidentification syndromes have been studied from a psychiatric-legal perspective, especially with regards to the problem of dangerousness. Capgras syndrome and other syndromes of misidentification can lead to hostile mood and subsequent physical violence. Little attention has so far been devoted to children as the objects of the psychotic person's misidentification delusion(s). We provide a review of cases from the anglophonic literature that have children as the misidentified objects, add three new cases, and then discuss the relationship between misidentification and potential harm to these children.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Capgras Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime
  • Delusions*
  • Female
  • Hallucinations
  • Homicide*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia, Paranoid / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis