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Behavioural Neurology - Volume 27 2013, Issue 1, Pages 15-22

Department of Neuropsychiatry, The Barberry, National Centre for Mental Health, Birmingham and School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology and University College London, London, UK

Received 23 November 2012; Accepted 23 November 2012

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Behavioural, cognitive and neuroanatomical characteristics of Tourette syndrome TS encourage the investigation of social cognitive abilities, which are critical for successful social interaction. This exhaustive review covers studies which have addressed a range of abilities in TS including the understanding of nonliteral language, socially inappropriate exchanges, facial expressions and specific aspects of theory of mind. While the changes in social cognition in TS appear subtle, suitably sensitive measures such as the faux pas task highlight alterations in TS on tasks which involve combinations of emotional information, conflicting perspectives and decision making. Importantly, the differences on social cognitive tasks in TS do not generally reflect a failure to attribute mental states, but rather reflect unconventional responses to social information. Studies have yet to investigate social cognition in children with TS, or evaluate the contribution of common co-morbid disorders. Interpretation of the basis for task deficits is also complex, and research using carefully matched tasks is needed. Nevertheless, it is becoming evident that some aspects of social reasoning involved in decision making are altered in uncomplicated TS, and further investigation in this area may shed light on the mechanisms involved in some of the more socially disabling symptoms associated with this condition.

Autor: Clare M. Eddy and Andrea E. Cavanna



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