AskDefine | Define automatism

Dictionary Definition

automatism n : any reaction that occurs automatically without conscious thought or reflection (especially the undirected behavior seen in psychomotor epilepsy)

User Contributed Dictionary



From automaton + -ism.


  • a UK /ɔːˈtɒmətɪzəm/


  1. Acting automatically or involuntarily.
  2. An action performed subconsciously, without any apparent direction from the mind; a thought which appears spontaneously in one's consciousness.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, p. 200:
      generalising this phenomenon, Mr Myers has given the name of automatism, sensory or motor, emotional or intellectual, to this whole sphere of effects, due to ‘uprushes’ into the ordinary consciousness of energies originating in the subliminal parts of the mind.
  3. A surrealist painting technique whereby one attempts to move the brush, pen etc. without conscious control over it.

Extensive Definition

Automatism may refer to:
automatism in Polish: Automatyzm

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Ouija, automatic control, automatic writing, automation, automatization, bad habit, blind impulse, characteristic, compulsiveness, conditioning, creature of habit, custom, echolalia, echopraxia, force of habit, habit, habit pattern, habitude, impulse, instinct, instinctiveness, involuntariness, levitation, materialization, pattern, peculiarity, planchette, poltergeist, poltergeistism, practice, praxis, psychography, psychorrhagy, reflex action, second nature, self-action, self-activity, self-determination, self-direction, self-government, self-motion, self-propulsion, self-regulation, sheer chemistry, spirit manifestation, spirit rapping, stereotype, stereotyped behavior, table tipping, telekinesis, teleportation, telesthesia, trance speaking, trick, unwilledness, usage, use, way, wont
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