These are seizures which affect consciousness. When a larger area of the brain is involved the child may experience some strange sensations depending on which of the brain's four lobes is affected. A complex partial seizure can spread quickly or slowly, and it may cut the child off from the outside world altogether. They will have limited or no memory of the seizure having happened.

In temporal lobe seizures, the child may have incredibly powerful emotional experiences, such as fear or terror. Another feeling is of intense deja vu (the feeling that this has all happened before), or conversely, jamais vu, when familiar surroundings and objects appear strange. Children affected may see scenes from their past unfolding before their eyes, have other hallucinations, or forget where they are and what they are doing. They may also smell strong aromas or they may speak unintelligibly or even be unable to speak at all. All these feelings are incredibly intense, much more so than the feelings we experience in our everyday lives.

In frontal lobe seizures, there may be twitching or jerking of the arms or legs, or involuntary eye movements. Partial lobe seizures, may cause tingling or pins and needles in some part of the body, for example down one side of the body. 

With occipital lobe seizures, the child may see flashing lights for a few seconds.

A complex partial seizure may also involve automatic behaviour (also known as an automatism) in which the children affected wander around, sometimes continuing with actions they were involved in prior to the seizure starting. They may look purposeful but in fact they have no awareness of their actions, and once the seizure is over, they have no memory of it. Their actions are usually simple and stereotyped (such as smacking their lips or pulling at their clothes). Sometimes the nature of their actions might be more complicated, for example undressing and putting themselves to bed.