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40 Cards in this Set

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Awareness of processed data from sensory organs.


Awareness of a percept generated within the mind. Healthy people can distinguish perception from imagery.


Misperception of a real external stimulus. Frequent with low-intensity stimuli (e.g. dusky light), in reduced level of consciousness (e.g. on waking, delirium) and in anxiety.


A percept in the absence of an external stimulus. Cannot be terminated at will. Usually associated with psychiatric disease, but can be caused by sensory pathway pathology, epilepsy or bereavement.

Auditory hallucinations

Often voices or music. Voices may be second or third person. Second person content can signify pathology (e.g. 'you are worthless' in depression). Third person often associated with schizophrenia.

Elementary hallucination

Precept of a simple stimulus (e.g. flash of light, bang)

Complex hallucination

Precept of a detailed, complicated stimulus (e.g. face, voices)

Olfactory / gustatory hallucinations

Frequent occur together, usually unpleasant. Associated with schizophrenia, severe depression temporal lobe epilepsy and olfactory tumours.

Tactile hallucination

Skin or internal organs being touched or manipulated. Occur in schizophrenia and cocaine abuse.


Fixed belief held on inadequate grounds despite evidence to the contrary. Must be unconventional given social background.

Primary delusion

Delusion which appears with no clear experience to precipitate it

Secondary delusion

Delusion arising from a previous experience (e.g. hearing voices precipitating delusion of being followed, or low mood leading to delusion of being abandoned).

Delusional system

Collection of complex, integrated delusions resulting in a fixed system of beliefs.

Delusional perception

Attaching a delusional significance to a normal perception (e.g. seeing rain as an indicator of impending death)

Persecutory delusions

Belief that a person or group is out to harm them. Not diagnostically significant in itself, but patient's interpretation may be (e.g. due to being a bad person in depression, unjustified in schizophrenia)

Delusions of reference

Belief that unconnected events have personal significance (e.g. fiction book giving instructions).

Grandiose delusions

Belief of exaggerated self-importance. Common in mania and schizophrenia.

Delusion of guilt

Attributing exaggerated consequences to a relatively small mistake in the past. Common in depression.

Nihilistic delusions

The belief that something has been (or will be) lost or destroyed, e.g. their career is destroyed because of illness. Common in depression.

Hypochondriacal delusions

Belief of current illness despite all evidence to the contrary. Different to hypochondriasis in that the beliefs are fixed.

Delusions of control

Belief that thoughts or actions are controlled by an outside agency. Does not include obeying hallucinations or belief of control by a deity.

Thought insertion

Belief that thoughts are not a product by the patient's own mind, but are inserted by an outside agency.

Thought withdrawal

Belief that patient's thoughts are being taken away by an outside agency. Often associated with a sudden halt in the thought process.

Thought broadcasting

Belief that a patient's thoughts can be heard or read by outside agency. Differs from thought withdrawal in that the thought is still known to the patient.


Recurrent and intrusive thoughts, impulses or images. Recognized by patient as untrue/illogical and as a product of their own mind.


Repeated purposeful action in response to an obsession. Known by patient to be senseless, but has a sense that it must be completed.

Overvalued idea

Initially acceptable idea pursued by a patient beyond reasonable bounds. Differ from delusions in that they are initially reasonable, of culturally common themes and have at least a small, transient amount of insight. Body image in anorexia nervosa is an example.

Thought block

Sensation of one's thoughts being suddenly interrupted. Patients often attributed to thought withdrawal. Suggestive of schizophrenia.


Persistent and inappropriate repetition of thoughts or phrases. Common in dementia and frontal lobe pathology.

Flight of idea

Rapid progression in the subject of speech and thought that generally follows a logical path. Suggestive of mania.

Loosening of associations

Loss of the normal structure of thinking. Presents as muddled or illogical in conversation, unable to be clarified.


Also known as 'word salad'. Senseless collection of words or noises.


Word invented by patient to describe a morbid experience


Sensation that a part of the body or mind is unreal or detached.


The sensation of external objects (e.g. trees, other people) appearing unreal or lifeless.


Awareness of pathological changes and appropriate responses. Can be divided into four areas: recognizing behaviours, recognizing those behaviours as unusual, recognizing unusual behaviours as a symptom of mental illness and recognizing the need for treatment.


Fabrication or distortion of memories, with no intent to deceive by the patient.


Awareness of the self and the environment


Ability to focus on a task or topic, even transiently.


Ability to sustain attention for extended periods of time