Thing I didn’t know: Stendhal syndrome

Stendhal syndrome is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly ‘beautiful’ or a large amount of art is in a single place. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of choice in other circumstances, e.g. when shopping.

I usually just call this Walmart Overload.



I call it mall-pox, or alternately, Wal-pox.

“Diary” by Chuck Palahnuik uses this syndrome in an interesting way. I actually didn’t like the book that much, but thought the syndrome was fascinating.
Yes, I am too lazy to look up the spelling of his name before I comment :)


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