Medical Dictionary

Capgras syndrome

noun Cap·gras syndrome \ˌkap-ˈgrä-\
variants: also

Capgras delusion

Medical Definition of Capgras syndrome

  1. :  a delusional condition characterized by the false belief that known individuals (such as family members) have been replaced by doubles or impostors The ability to identify (which was intact) was not accompanied by the appropriate feeling of warmth and familiarity, and it was this contradiction that led to the logical though absurd conclusion that she was a “duplicate.” (This condition, which can occur in schizophrenia, but also with dementia or delirium, is known as Capgras syndrome.)—Oliver Sacks, The New Yorker, 27 Aug. 2012

Biographical Note for capgras syndrome



Jean-Marie Joseph

(1873–1950), French psychiatrist. Capgras worked at several mental institutions around Paris before being appointed to the staff of Sainte-Anne Hospital, one of the most important psychiatric hospitals in all of France. He first described Capgras syndrome in 1923 in a paper coauthored by his intern Jean Reboul-Lachaux. Their description was based on the case of “Madame M.,” a housewife who was convinced that her family and neighbors had all been replaced by look-alikes. She claimed that her real husband had been impersonated by at least 80 look-alike imposters.

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to criticize severely

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