automatism


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Automatism

An involuntary act such as sleepwalking that is performed in a state of unconsciousness. The subject does not act voluntarily and is not fully aware of his or her actions while in a state of automatism. Automatism has been used as a defense to show that a defendant lacked the requisite mental state for the commission of a crime. A defense based on automatism asserts that there was no act in the legal sense because at the time of the alleged crime, the defendant had no psychic awareness or volition. Some American jurisdictions have recognized automatism as a complete, Affirmative Defense to most criminal charges. An Insanity Defense, by comparison, asserts that the accused possessed psychic awareness or volition, but at the time of the offense, the accused possessed a mental disorder or defect that caused them to commit the offense or prevented them from understanding the wrongness of the offense.

automatism

see INSANITY.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Doctrinal scholars have focused on mental state/impairment "defences" such as insanity, automatism, diminished responsibility, infanticide, and sometimes intoxication, without taking a step back to analyze the conceptual underpinnings of this category of "defences" as a whole.
According to Fried, a very "different stylistic regime is in force" (6) in Salammbo, inasmuch as every aspect of the text that Flaubert could control is "exclusively the product of conscious intention, of the faculty of will," resulting in a novel "devoid of the effects of habit and automatism that are continually at work in Madame Bovary" (117).
However automatism would be diffif cult to prove where the medical condition is pre-existing.
His landmark treatise on automatisms, which includes references to psychology and parapsychology authors (e.
Rigidities and automatism emerge--for example, to comic effect--not as the polar opposite of some putative 'pure life' but as instances of petrifaction within the processes generated by the difficult co-implication of subject and Other.
Within five pages, these poor women have become "beingless beings": "These two beings have been rendered even more beingless by their presence, courtesy of the book's automatism, in a scene from which they are absent" (117-8).
If an addiction is an automatism, then our job as treatment professionals is twofold: first, to educate alcoholics and addicts about the nature of their condition and what they have to do; second, to hold them responsible for maintaining abstinence.
Hantai's "Etudes," departing from that conception, refigure automatism not as a descent into psychic depths but as an opening toward an outside.
The jury has also been told there are two types of automatism: insane automatism and non-insane automatism.
Tart (1963) and more recently by Dean Radin (1997), may be seen as a motor automatism in which the motor response is not clearly visible without instrumental amplification.
He defended himself on the grounds of non-insane automatism and a doctor testified that the accused was extremely susceptible to hypnosis and may well not have come out of the trance during the group "de-hypnosis" procedure.