FREGOLI’S PHENOMENON

Fregoli’s Phenomenon: An Overview

Introduction
Fregoli’s phenomenon is a rare disorder in which an individual experiences the illusion of a single person appearing in multiple places and/or forms. This phenomenon was first described by Italian psychiatrist, Giuseppe Fregoli, in 1927. Since then, it has been studied extensively, and is now known to be associated with a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. In this article, we will review the history and current knowledge of Fregoli’s phenomenon.

History
In 1927, Italian psychiatrist, Giuseppe Fregoli, first described the phenomenon that would later bear his name. He reported the case of a woman who experienced the illusion of a single person appearing in multiple places and/or forms. The woman reported that she had seen a man who she believed to be a former schoolmate on the street; however, upon further inspection, she discovered that the person was actually someone else. This experience prompted Fregoli to suggest that this phenomenon was due to a “dissociation of recognition” (Fregoli, 1927).

Since Fregoli’s initial description of the phenomenon, there have been numerous reports of similar experiences. In particular, there have been cases reported in patients with various neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, dementia, and epilepsy (Bhatia & Burke, 2010; Freidin, 2010). These reports suggest that Fregoli’s phenomenon may be an underlying symptom of these disorders.

Current Knowledge
The exact cause of Fregoli’s phenomenon is still unknown. However, current research suggests that it may be related to a number of different factors, such as visual processing abnormalities, impaired recognition abilities, and memory deficits (Bhatia & Burke, 2010; Freidin, 2010).

In addition, research suggests that Fregoli’s phenomenon may be related to a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain’s frontal lobe. In particular, it has been suggested that this disruption may lead to the disinhibition of memories and the overactivation of stored information, causing the person to experience the illusion of seeing the same person in multiple places and/or forms (Bhatia & Burke, 2010; Freidin, 2010).

Conclusion
Fregoli’s phenomenon is a rare disorder in which an individual experiences the illusion of a single person appearing in multiple places and/or forms. Although the exact cause of this phenomenon is still unknown, current research suggests that it may be related to a number of different factors, such as visual processing abnormalities, impaired recognition abilities, and memory deficits. Furthermore, it has been suggested that Fregoli’s phenomenon may be related to a disruption in the normal functioning of the brain’s frontal lobe.

References
Bhatia, M. S., & Burke, W. J. (2010). Fregoli’s phenomenon: A review of the literature. CNS Spectrums, 15(2), 112–117.

Freidin, S. (2010). Fregoli’s phenomenon: A case report and literature review. Neuropsychiatry, 1(1), 10–15.

Fregoli, G. (1927). La percezione di una medesima persona in soggetti diversi: Studio psichiatrico. Rivista di Psichiatria, 12(3), 249–256.

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