Physiological Awareness Is Negatively Related to Inhibitory Functioning in Tourette Syndrome

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16 Citations (Scopus)


In Tourette syndrome (TS), tics are characteristically preceded by subjective bodily experiences referred to as premonitory sensations. Premonitory sensory phenomena play a key role in behavior therapy for tics, the success of which has also been suggested to be related to inhibitory functioning. We investigated whether TS was associated with altered internal physiological awareness and how this may interact with the neuropsychological characteristics of TS. We compared the awareness of bodily sensations and inhibitory functioning in 18 adult patients with uncomplicated TS and 18 healthy controls. We also explored relationships between these factors, tic severity, and premonitory sensations. Patients with TS exhibited significantly higher scores on the Private Body Consciousness (PBC) scale and inhibitory deficits on traditional and emotional Stroop tests. PBC scores were not correlated with premonitory sensations or tic severity. However, inhibitory functioning was negatively related to PBC scores and premonitory sensations. Relationships between inhibitory performance and tic severity were complex. In conclusion, patients with TS exhibit increased PBC in addition to inhibitory deficits. Aspects of inhibitory functioning are related to PBC, premonitory sensations, and tic severity. Complex interplay between neuropsychological and neurophysiological mechanisms could therefore determine tic severity and the success of behavioral treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-335
Number of pages17
JournalBehavior Modification
Issue number2
Early online date18 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroop Test
  • Tourette Syndrome/physiopathology
  • United Kingdom
  • Universities
  • Young Adult
  • sensation
  • tics


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