The pathophysiology of echopraxia/echolalia: relevance to Gilles de la Tourette syndrome

Mov Disord. 2012 Sep 1;27(10):1222-9. doi: 10.1002/mds.25103. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


Echopraxia and echolalia are subsets of imitative behavior. They are essential developmental elements in social learning. Their persistence or reemergence after a certain age, though, can be a sign of underlying brain dysfunction. Although echophenomena have been acknowledged as a typical sign in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) since its first description, their clinical significance and neural correlates are largely unknown. Here, we review the course of their scientific historical development and focus on their clinical phenomenology and differential diagnosis with a particular view to GTS. The neural basis of echophenomena will also be addressed. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echolalia / diagnosis*
  • Echolalia / etiology*
  • Echolalia / history
  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging
  • Tourette Syndrome / complications*
  • Tourette Syndrome / history