It is widely known that humans have a tendency to imitate each other and that appropriate modulation of automatic imitative behaviors has a crucial function in social interactions. Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and phonic tics. Apart from tics, patients with GTS are often reported to show an abnormal tendency to automatically imitate others’ behaviors (i.e., echophenomena), which may be related to a failure in top-down inhibition of imitative response tendencies. The aim of the current study is to explore the top-down inhibitory mechanisms on automatic imitative behaviors in youngsters with GTS. Error rates and reaction times from 32 participants with GTS and 32 controls were collected in response to an automatic imitation task assessing the influence of observed movements displayed in the first-person perspective on congruent and incongruent motor responses. Results showed that participants with GTS had higher error rates than controls, and their responses were faster than those of controls in incompatible stimuli. Our findings provide novel evidence of a key difference between youngsters with GTS and typically developing participants in the ability to effectively control the production of own motor responses to sensory inputs deriving from observed actions.

Automatic imitation in youngsters with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome: A behavioral study

Zibordi F.;Termine C.
Ultimo
2021-01-01

Abstract

It is widely known that humans have a tendency to imitate each other and that appropriate modulation of automatic imitative behaviors has a crucial function in social interactions. Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a childhood-onset neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by motor and phonic tics. Apart from tics, patients with GTS are often reported to show an abnormal tendency to automatically imitate others’ behaviors (i.e., echophenomena), which may be related to a failure in top-down inhibition of imitative response tendencies. The aim of the current study is to explore the top-down inhibitory mechanisms on automatic imitative behaviors in youngsters with GTS. Error rates and reaction times from 32 participants with GTS and 32 controls were collected in response to an automatic imitation task assessing the influence of observed movements displayed in the first-person perspective on congruent and incongruent motor responses. Results showed that participants with GTS had higher error rates than controls, and their responses were faster than those of controls in incompatible stimuli. Our findings provide novel evidence of a key difference between youngsters with GTS and typically developing participants in the ability to effectively control the production of own motor responses to sensory inputs deriving from observed actions.
automatic imitation; echophenomena; Gilles de la Tourette syndrome; motor inhibition; stimulus-response compatibility
Quadrelli, E.; Bartoli, B.; Bolognini, N.; Cavanna, A. E.; Zibordi, F.; Nardocci, N.; Turati, C.; Termine, C.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2110004
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 2
  • Scopus 1
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 1
social impact