Sigbert Ganser

Sigbert Josef Maria Ganser (1853 – 1931) was a German psychiatrist.

Ganser is best remembered for describing ‘Ganser syndrome’ an hysterical disorder he first described in three prisoners while working at a prison in Halle (1898)

The features included approximate or nonsensical answers to simple questions, perceptual abnormalities, and clouding of consciousness

  • Born 24 January 1853, Dresden Germany
  • 1886 – Professor at the University in Dresden
  • Died 4 January 1931
Medical Eponyms
Ganser syndrome (1898)

Ganser syndrome is a rare and controversial condition, whose main and most striking feature is the production of approximate answers (or near misses) to very simple questions.


Ganser syndrome: a hysterical pseudo stupidity which occurs almost exclusively in jails and in old-fashioned German psychiatric textbooks

Wertham, 1949

We have been unable to locate members of his family, his papers or even a photograph of him, indeed he even has three dates of death (1923 – 1930 – 1931?) but his real death lies in the strange feast of falsification and approximate reason that has ’greeted’ his thinking.

Allen, Postel. History of Psychiatry. 1994;(5):289–319.
Major Publications


Eponymous terms

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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