automatism

/atomatizam/
Behavior performed in a state of mental unconsciousness or dissociation without full awareness, i.e., somnambulism, fugues. Term is applied to actions or conduct of an individual apparently occurring without will, purpose, or reasoned intention on his part; a condition sometimes observed in persons who, without being actually insane, suffer from an obscuration of the mental faculties, loss of volition or of memory, or kindred affections.
"Ambulatory automatism" describes the pathological impulse to purposeless and irresponsible wanderings from place to place often characteristic of patients suffering from loss of memory with dissociation of personality. Automatism may be asserted as a criminal defense to negate the requisite mental state of voluntariness for commission of a crime.
See e.g. Model Penal Code, No. 2.01

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Automatism — Au*tom a*tism, n. The state or quality of being automatic; the power of self moving; automatic, mechanical, or involuntary action. Specifically: (Metaph.) A theory as to the activity of matter. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • automatism — [ô täm′ə tiz΄əm] n. [ AUTOMAT(IC) + ISM] 1. the quality or condition of being automatic 2. automatic action 3. Philos. the theory that the human or animal body is a machine governed by physical laws and that consciousness does not control but… …   English World dictionary

  • automatism —    The term automatisme was introduced in or shortly before 1846 by the French alienist Jules Gabriel François Baillarger (1806 1891). It comes from the Greek adjective automatos, which means automatically or driven by a power of its own.… …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • automatism — automatist, n., adj. /aw tom euh tiz euhm/, n. 1. the action or condition of being automatic; mechanical or involuntary action. 2. Philos. the doctrine that all activities of animals, or of humans and animals, are entirely controlled by physical… …   Universalium

  • automatism — noun Etymology: French automatisme, from automate automaton, from Latin automaton Date: 1838 1. a. the quality or state of being automatic b. an automatic action 2. the moving or functioning (as of an organ, tissue, or a body part) without… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • automatism — noun /ɔːˈtɒmətɪzəm/ a) Acting automatically or involuntarily. generalising this phenomenon, Mr Myers has given the name of automatism, sensory or motor, emotional or intellectual, to this whole sphere of effects, due to ‘uprushes’ into the… …   Wiktionary

  • Automatism — or Surrealist automatism, to be more specific, is an artistic technique of spontaneous writing, drawing, or the like practiced without conscious aesthetic or moral self censorship …   Mini philosophy glossary

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