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Neurophysiol Clin. 2008 Jun;38(3):177-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neucli.2008.04.003. Epub 2008 Apr 23.

An odd manifestation of the Capgras syndrome: loss of familiarity even with the sexual partner.

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Neuropsychology Unit, Neurology Department, Bellevue Hospital, CHU de Bellevue, 25, boulevard Pasteur, Saint-Etienne, France.


We report the case of a patient who presented visual hallucinations and identification disorders associated with a Capgras syndrome. During the Capgras periods, there was not only a misidentification of his wife's face, but also a more global perceptive and emotional sexual identification disorder. Thus, he had sexual intercourse with his wife's "double" without having the slightest recollection feeling of familiarity towards his "wife" and even changed his sexual habits. To the best of our knowledge, he is the only neurological patient who made his wife a mistress. Starting from this global familiarity loss, we discuss the mechanism of Capgras delusion with reference to the role of the implicit system of face recognition. Such behavior of familiarity loss not only with face but also with all intimacy aspects argues for a specific disconnection between the ventral visual pathway of face identification and the limbic system involved in emotional and episodic memory contents.

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