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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.

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Disorientation is the opposite of orientation. It is a cognitive disability in which the senses of time, direction, and recognition become difficult to distinguish.


  1. Berrios G E (1982) Disorientation States in Psychiatry. Comprehensive Psychiatry 23: 479-491
  2. Demirbilek, M. (2004) Effects of Interface windowing Modes and Individual Differences on Disorientation and Cognitive Load in Hypermedia Learning Environments. Un published doctoral dissertation, University of Florida, USA.