Orientation (mental)

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"Disorientation" redirects here. For the difference in crystallographic orientation, see Misorientation.

Orientation is a function of the mind involving awareness of three dimensions: time, place and person.[1] Problems with orientation lead to disorientation, and can be due to various conditions, from delirium to intoxication. Typically, disorientation is first in time, then in place and finally in person.

The exact cerebral region involved in orientation is uncertain, but lesions of the brain stem and the cerebral hemispheres have been reported to cause disorientation, suggesting that they act together in maintaining awareness and its subfunction of orientation.


Disorientation is the opposite of orientation. It is a cognitive disability in which the senses of time, direction, and recognition of items (things), people and places become difficult to distinguish/identify.[2]

Causes of mental disorientation[edit]

Disorientation can occur in healthy young adults as well as in the elderly or ill person. While exercising, if a person becomes dehydrated as a result of over-exertion, he or she may become disoriented to the time or place. While exercising, the body may not be able to supply enough oxygen to the brain fast enough. Mental disorientation can be the aim of some performance art, as creators with 'audience disorientation' as a goal may work to deliberately augment sensations of time, place, person, purpose. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berrios G E (1982) Disorientation States in Psychiatry. Comprehensive Psychiatry 23: 479-491
  2. ^ Isaac M., Janca A., Sartious N., 1994.ICD-10 Symptom Glossery For Mental Disorders,10th ed. WHO.
  3. ^ branch, solomon. "What Causes Disorientation During Exercise". Livestrong.com. Demand Media Inc. Retrieved 29 September 2011.