Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Neuropsychol. 2017 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/jnp.12132. [Epub ahead of print]

Imitation inhibition in children with Tourette syndrome.

Author information

1
Department of Paediatric and Adult Movement Disorders and Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Neurogenetics, University of Lübeck, Germany.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, UK.
3
Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.
4
Department of Human Resources, Health and Social Affairs, University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany.
5
Department of Neurology, Julius-Maximilians-University, Würzburg, Germany.
6
Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Echopraxia, that is, the open and automatic imitation of other peoples' actions, is common in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, and also those with frontal lobe lesions. While systematic reaction time tasks have confirmed increased automatic imitation in the latter two groups, adult patients with Tourette syndrome appear to compensate for automatic imitation tendencies by an overall slowing in response times. However, whether children with Tourette syndrome are already able to inhibit automatic imitation tendencies has not been investigated.

METHOD:

Fifteen children with Tourette syndrome and 15 healthy children (aged 7-12 years) performed an imitation inhibition paradigm. Participants were asked to respond to an auditory cue by lifting their index finger or their little finger. Participants were simultaneously presented with either compatible or incompatible visual stimuli.

RESULTS:

Overall responses in children with Tourette syndrome were slower than in healthy children. Although responses were faster in compatible than in incompatible trials in both groups, this 'interference effect' was smaller in children with Tourette syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children with Tourette syndrome have a smaller interference effect than healthy children, indicating an enhanced ability to behaviourally control automatic imitation tendencies at the cost of reacting slower. The results suggest that children with Tourette syndrome already employ different or additional inhibition strategies compared to healthy children.

KEYWORDS:

Tic; Tourette syndrome; echopraxia; imitation; inhibition; mirror neuron system

PMID:
28801946
DOI:
10.1111/jnp.12132

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center