Capgras syndrome causes people to think their loved ones have been replaced by identical impostors
Published in The Washington Post, this article explores Capgras syndrome with the story of Carol Berman when her husband Marty, after 40 years, no longer recognised her as the real Carol. Capgras syndrome is a psychological condition that prompts a person to believe that loved ones have been replaced by identical duplicates of themselves.
"The idea of loved ones being impostors should be rejected if you have a proper belief evaluation system, but brain damage in the right frontal lobe can prevent this from occurring," said Emertus Professor Max Coltheart, founding director of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University in Australia.
The cause has long been unknown. Cognitive scientist Max Coltheart and his colleagues came up with a two-factor theory of delusional belief that has since been confirmed by brain imaging in a Capgras patient. The first factor is a form of brain damage that prevents familiar faces from evoking an emotional response, but a second factor exists that prevents patients from rejecting the delusional belief.
This article has also been published in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Image source: Carol Berman and her husband, Marty, in 2006 (Family photo), as published in The Washington Post.
Content owner: Department of Cognitive Science Last updated: 05 Jun 2019 8:58am