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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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The second episode presented by hypermotor activity and right deviation of head for 22 seconds with subtle automatism exactly before ictal phase termination.
However, the automatisms of film linger to this day--"a cinematic look"--even if film long since disappeared phenomenologically within a wave of electronic and digital media.
Hoffmann (1776-1822), the nineteenth-century French novelist Honore de Balzac (1799-1850), the late twentieth-century British writer Angela Carter (1940-1992), and the contemporary Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (1964-)--that prominently employ metaphors for mechanistic and biological automatism as vehicles for reflecting upon the nature of the imagination.
See especially in Chapter 38 (Simon RI: The Law and Psychiatry) the section on automatisms and intoxication, pp.
Through Janet's automatisms and artificially induced somnambulisms, the book takes us to the Harvard of William James.