skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 202017 Find in a Library
Title: From Volitional Action to Automatized Homicide: Changing Levels of Self and Consciousness During Partial Limbic Seizures
Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior  Volume:8  Issue:5  Dated:September-October 2003  Pages:547-561
Author(s): Anneliese A. Pontius
Editor(s): Vincent B. Van Hasselt; Michel Hersen
Date Published: September 2003
Page Count: 15
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article proposes refined definitions for subtle, transient changes primarily of the "sense of self," expressed in observable action behavior due to neuro-pathological disturbances, especially during partial limbic seizures interfering with volition.
Abstract: Neuro-pathological changes in the ability to act can occur at various levels of neural organization. When volitional action becomes impaired, there is the need to exclude a diagnosis of a seizure. This article proposes a refined definition that takes into account the subtle seizure-driven gradual impairment of volitional action affecting the state of the self and thereby of consciousness. Discussion capitalizes on the preservation of memory for the bizarre acts during Limbic Psychotic Trigger Reaction (LPTR), enabling stricken persons to report on their subjective experiences in relation to bizarre acts that are incomprehensible to them. The acts are nonvolitional, unplanned, nonintended, motiveless, and out-of-character, ranging from socially bizarrely inappropriate behavior to homicide. In summary, “paleo” levels of consciousness and the sense of self mediate certain explicit memory functions. Basic “paleo” levels of sense of self and of consciousness are preserved. Such patients know the nature (i.e. the kind of action) while they transiently lose their previously characteristic ability to fully appreciate the quality of their acts, consequences, and implications. There is dissociation between the retained memory of the what, of the mode of ictal action as against a lack of memory of experiencing such nonvolitional action. Deductions on changes of the sense of the self and of consciousess require a relatively objectifiable basis. References
Main Term(s): Neurological disorders
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Homicide; Homicide causes
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.