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Revista de la Asociación Española de Neuropsiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 2340-2733Print version ISSN 0211-5735


MARTINEZ, Daniel R. Classification of disorders of consciousness. Rev. Asoc. Esp. Neuropsiq. [online]. 2019, vol.39, n.135, pp.33-49.  Epub Nov 11, 2019. ISSN 2340-2733.

Traditionally, there has been an incongruity between the definition of consciousness and the characterization of its pathology, which is restricted to those disorders that affect consciousness as a whole, either by a decrease in its level or by a disorganization of its contents. Developments in cognitive neuroscience have shown that there are other disturbances of consciousness that do not imply its total involvement. In order to present a comprehensive classification of these disorders, we will build our classification on the theories of Edelman and Damasio, who differentiate an elementary form of consciousness (primary or core consciousness, respectively) from a complex one (higher order or extended consciousness, respectively). Diseases that affect primary consciousness cause global disorders, because they affect consciousness as a whole. Disorders of higher-order consciousness cause partial disturbances, which mostly involve self-consciousness. Perceptual distortions and deceptions are also included here.

Keywords : consciousness; disorders of consciousness; self-consciousness; primary consciousness; higher-order consciousness.

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