Thursday, February 12, 2009


word of the day: simultagnosia

context: “Her auditory environment was split sometimes into discrete and unconnected elements: street sounds, domestic sounds, or the sounds of animals, for example, might suddenly stand out and preempt her attention because they were isolated, not integrated into the normal auditory background or landscape. Neurologists refer to this as simultagnosia, and it is more often visual than auditory.”

Further definition from “Patients can recognize objects or details in their visual field, but only one at a time. They cannot make out the scene they belong to or make ... a whole image out of the details. They literally cannot see the forest for the trees.”

An agnosia (according to is “(a-gnosis, ‘non-knowledge’, or loss of knowledge) … loss of ability to recognize objects, persons, sounds, shapes, or smells while the specific sense is not defective nor is there any significant memory loss.”

source for context quote: Musicophilia: tales of music and the brain by Oliver Sacks


imPRESsed1 said...

I am simultagnosic after a brain injury. I use the "can't see the forest for the trees" explanation, but
it is hopelessly inadequate. Simultagnosia is so rare that no one really understands it. I WISH I could explain what I experience visually but it seems that I don't have the right words to describe it.

Anonymous said...

Today I found out that what I have been suffering from for so long has a name. Simultagnosia. I was reading Musicophilia, and I came to that part. I have never heard of anyone else that suffers from this. Most Doctors that I saw said it was probably psychosomatic.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I wish you well, Anon.