Writing Disturbances in Acute Confusional States

  • Norman Geschwind
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 16)


Disorders of writing present a paradoxical problem to the student of the higher functions. Thus the evidence known to me at this time leads me to believe either that there is no localized cortical lesion which can produce a bilateral disorder of writing without aphasia in spoken speech, or that such lesions must be extremely rare. On the other hand cases in which disorder of writing is the unique or predominant linguistic disorder are not at all rare. I had for some years been struck by the high frequency of writing disorders in confusional states, and this paper with Dr. Chédru confirms this finding with both spontaneous clinical cases and experimental cases. We have no good idea as to why disorder of writing should be so prominent in metabolic or toxic disorders. There are other disorders which occur in confusional states, as Chédru and I have discussed in another paper, although they have not been studied as well as writing disorders. One might suspect that the functions disturbed are those which depend most critically on coordination of different parts of the brain and on the proper operation of the mechanisms of attention, which are perhaps the most complex of all functions of the brain.


Spelling Error Confusional State Acute Confusional State Focal Brain Lesion High Cortical Function 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Geschwind
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolUSA

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