"Alice in Wonderland" Syndrome

"Alice in Wonderland" Syndrome

The name "Alice in Wonderland" syndrome was coined by Todd in 1955 to describe the phenomena of microor macrosomatognosia, altered perceptions of body image, although these had first been described by Lippman in the context of migraine some years earlier. It has subsequently been suggested that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s own experience of migraine, recorded in his diaries, may have given rise to Lewis Carroll’s descriptions of Alice’s changes in body form, graphically illustrated in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by Sir John Tenniel. Some authors have subsequently interpreted these as somesthetic migrainous auras, whereas others challenge this on chronological grounds, finding no evidence in Dodgson’s diaries for the onset of migraine until after he had written the Alice books. Moreover, migraine with somatosensory features is rare, and Dodgson’s diaries have no report of migraine-associated body image hallucinations.

Other conditions may also give rise to the phenomena of microor macrosomatognosia, including epilepsy, encephalitis, cerebral mass lesions, schizophrenia, and drug intoxication.



Larner AJ. The neurology of "Alice." Advances in Clinical Neuroscience
& Rehabilitation 2005; 4(6): 35-36
Todd J. The syndrome of Alice in Wonderland. Canadian Medical Association Journal 1955; 73: 701-704


Cross References

Aura; Metamorphopsia