Automatism

Automatism may refer to:

  • Automatic behavior, spontaneous verbal or motor behavior; an act performed unconsciously. Defendants have been found not guilty due to an automatism defense (e.g., homicide while sleepwalking).
  • Automatism (law), a defense to liability. See also Automatism (case law).
  • Automatism (toxicology), when an individual repeatedly takes a medication because the individual forgets previous doses, potentially leading to a drug overdose.
  • Automatic writing, the process, or product, of writing material that does not come from the conscious thoughts of the writer.
  • Automatism Artistic Movement
  • Surrealist automatism, an art technique.
  • Automatism (medicine), repetitive unconscious gestures such as lip smacking, chewing, or swallowing in certain types of epilepsy.


Unconscious muscular movements often attributed to the supernatural through physical guidance, especially artistic activity (i.e. writing, drawing, painting, playing musical instruments, composing, dancing, and singing). Automatism was often attributed to spirits and the divine since ancient times when inspired activity was considered to be the gift of the gods. The prevailing contemporary view is that most automatisms are the product of secondary personalities who produce knowledge or information the person has learned and repressed or forgotten. The most common forms of automatism are automatic writing and automatic painting. In automatic painting, individuals who have little or no artistic training suddenly feel overcome by the desire to draw or paint in distinctive professional styles. They may feel guided by a spirit, or that an invisible hand is pushing theirs. In some cases, the style is recognizable as that of a deceased artist. Other types of motor automatisms include impulsive behavior, sudden inhibitions and sudden physical incapacities. Problems associated with automatisms include compulsion, obsession, and a feeling of possession. Sensory automatisms, those produced by an inner voice or vision, can include apparitions of the living, inspirations, hallucinations, and dreams.

Other articles related to "automatism, automatisms":

Sleep Emailing - Explanation - Automatism
... about the classification of sleepwalking as an automatism ... Epileptic automatisms are also associated "with the absence attacks of petit mal epilepsy." Some actions that take place during sleepwalking could be classified as "automatisms" ... The distinction between "non-insane automatism" and "insane automatism" may be important in the legal context (see Crime below) ...
Automatism (medicine) - Treatment For Automatism
... seizure disorders, most people who suffer from automatism can have the condition completely or partially controlled by an anticonvulsant medication ... Automatism in progress cannot be stopped without advanced medical intervention, which may become necessary in rare instances when it lasts longer than 10 minutes with no sign of stopping ... Automatism itself is medically harmless, and unlike other seizure types, the subject's actions are less likely to result in physical injury in the subject or others ...
Automatism (law) - Exclusions
... Because automatism is such a comprehensive defence, there are various exclusions to an automatism defence ... Voluntary (and often involuntary) intoxication cannot cause legal automatism ... Causes of insanity will come under the M'Naghten Rules as insane automatism and lead to the special verdict of 'not guilty by reason of insanity' rather than a straight acquittal in sane automatism ...
R V Quick
... R v Quick QB 910 is an English criminal case, dealing with sane-automatism ... The court ruled that sane-automatism may not be used as a defence if the defendant's loss of self-control is attributable to any substance they consume or not ... complications in distinguishing between insanity and automatism, and the effect that this lack of distinction has on trials ...