: the moving or functioning (as of an organ, tissue, or a body part) without conscious control that occurs either independently of external stimuli (as in the beating of the heart) or under the influence of external stimuli (as in pupil dilation)
: a theory that views the body as a machine and consciousness as a noncontrolling adjunct of the body
: suspension of the conscious mind to release subconscious images <automatism —the surrealist trend toward spontaneity and intuition — Elle>
: an automatic action; especially: any action performed without the doer's intention or awareness
: the power or fact of moving or functioning without conscious control either independently of external stimulation (as in the beating of the heart) or more or less directly under the influence of external stimuli (as in the dilating or contracting of the pupil of the eye)
Method of painting or drawing in which conscious control over the movement of the hand is suppressed so that the subconscious mind may take over. For some Abstract Expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock, the automatic process encompassed the entire process of composition. The Surrealists, having once achieved an interesting image or form by automatic or chance means, exploited the technique with fully conscious purpose. See alsoAbstract Expressionism, action painting, Surrealism.