yes, therapy helps!
Autoscopy (psychological effect): when we perceive ourselves

Autoscopy (psychological effect): when we perceive ourselves "from the outside"

July 19, 2024

The brain continues to be one of the most enigmatic organs, if not the most, of the entire human body . In spite of knowing practically all the tasks that it carries out, from allowing us to perform the physical processes for the activity of our body to all the intellectual and psychological processes, the brain still harbors many mysteries in terms of its functioning in itself.

The autoscopia belongs to that category of phenomena in which the brain "lies" to the person . Specifically, making the person perceive himself from the outside, as if he were another person, seeing himself and feeling outside his own body.

What is Autoscopy? Definition and characteristics

The autoscopia or autoscopic phenomenon as such consists of a subjective mental experience . Specifically, it refers to a series of sensory experiences in which the person has the sensation of seeing their own body from an extracorporeal perspective.


That is, the subject sees himself as if he were seeing himself in a mirror, while believing he is awake.

Characteristics of autoscopic phenomena

In order for an autoscopy to be cataloged as such, these three factors must be met:

  • Discarnation : experience the exit of one's body
  • Impression of seeing the world and from another perspective, but with an egocentric visual-spatial point of view.
  • Divide your own body from this perspective.

There is an experience, cataloged as an autoscopic phenomenon that has gained enough fame thanks to literature, cinema and television, is the so-called 'extracorporeal experience', in which the person reports having left his body and observed it from above .


But there are several types of autoscopies that are cataloged differently, according to the person's awareness of their own body. We explain them below.

Types of autoscopies

Four types of autoscopic experiences are known according to what the person perceives. They are the following.

1. Autoscopic hallucination

In this type of hallucination the person can see a double of himself but without identifying with him . That is, during this experience the person does not perceive that his conscience has left his body, but rather he perceives it as a double, as if it were another independent person. There is even the possibility that he might perceive it as another version of his own person; which can be vary well being younger, older or with a different concrete facial feature.

2. Out-of-body experience (OBE)

In the extracorporeal or extracorporeal experience, the subject has the sensation of floating projected on the outside of his body . During this experience the person feels that he is out of where he should be, that his "I" is outside his own body.


Unlike the autoscopic hallucination, in the extracorporal experience the person does identify the body he is seeing as his own.

A very characteristic feature of this experience and related in the same way in all those who have experienced this experience, is that they observe themselves from a higher perspective, as if they were sustained on their own body.

This phenomenon is very associated with different types of meditation and near-death experiences.

3. Heautoscopy

Heautoscopies are phenomena in which the person experiences a form of intermediate hallucination between autoscopy and out-of-body experience. The subject can perceive a double of himself but he is not able to discover with what body to identify himself, he does not know in which body he is exactly.

People who have ever experienced this phenomenon report feeling ownership of both bodies and none at the same time.

4. Sensation of presence

There is an extensive debate about whether this type of experience should be cataloged or not as autoscopic . However, among the four types of phenomena, this may be the most common or the most lived among the population.

In the sense of presence, people do not see a double of their body, but they perceive the physical presence of another person very close to them.

Symptoms perceived by the affected person

Living one of these events is very complex, as many systems, perceptions and sensations participate.

The fact of experiencing an autoscopic experience with all its intensity requires much more than simply seeing something that the person knows is not real. In addition to the visual hallucination as such, other auditory and even tactile sensory variables must appear.

Also, during the phenomenon of autoscopy, the hallucinations described above are accompanied by hallucinations of the vestibular system. This is the system that, together with other proprioception systems, informs us about the position of our body in space . In these experiences, this system seems to deceive the person; making it feel in another place or position that does not correspond with the real one.

Finally, along with all these phenomena, there may appear a strong sense that the consciousness is somewhere else, as if it had been moved to another place.

Causes and associated disorders

The fact of experiencing a mirage as curious as autoscopy does not necessarily mean that there is an associated psychopathology. These hallucinations can appear without warning for several reasons:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Diseases that occur with very high fever
  • Neurological injuries
  • Consumption of substances
  • Transient imbalance of body chemistry

The study of these autoscopic phenomena suggests that there is something flexible in how the brain perceives our bodily being, hence it is capable of modifying it.

Regarding what concerns the neurobiological origin of this kind of experiences, the type of experience indicates that there are areas of sensory association involved in it. These theories are based on the fact that autoscopy is a rich, complete and convincing experience; that is, it would consist of an altered perception derived from different sensory systems.

To be specific, there are certain more specific areas of the brain such as the temporoparietal junction which supports the processes of the vestibular system and multisensory information. In addition, it also participates in the limbic system information and thalamic connections, so everything points to it is an essential area for an altered march of the same end deriving in all this class of phenomena

Associated disorders: negative autoscopy

There is knowledge of a related psychiatric disorder that is known as negative autoscopy or negative heautoscopy . This is a psychological manifestation in which the patient can not see his reflection when looking in a mirror.

In these cases, although people around him can see the image, and even point it out, the person claims to see nothing.


Near Death , Reincarnation,& Holographic Universe (July 2024).


Similar Articles