Poor disease awareness (‘anosognosia’) is often observed in patients with various disabilities caused by brain damage. The lack of disease awareness can be due to the disruption of specific cognitive mechanisms and the development of psychodynamic mechanisms of denial. The aim of this paper is to review how these phenomena were discovered and evolved over time and to consider the relationships between them and the right hemisphere dominance for emotions. It is not clear whether the term ‘anosognosia’ refers to a basic mechanism that can explain similar awareness defects in different behavioural domains or whether it must be viewed as a multifaceted phenomenon in which both the disruption of cognitive or sensorimotor mechanisms and the emergence of motivational factors can play different roles in various forms of disease unawareness and in different kinds of ‘anosognosic’ patients.
- Denial of illness
- Dynamic unconscious
- Functional Laterality
- Implicit preverbal memories
- Right hemisphere dominance for emotions