Stereotyped Movements: Brain and Behavior Relationships
Stereotyped movements (or stereotypy) is a term used to describe physical movements that are both aimless and repetitive. These behaviors cover a wide range of movements, from the steady, rhythmic body rocking of some developmentally disabled patients to the abrupt, transient movements of people with Tourette's syndrome. These movements often inhibit the physical and social functioning of patients and interfere with their care. Although noted in clinical observations for centuries, there is not yet a coherent theoretical or empirical understanding of these repetitive actions. The editors of this volume propose that these seemingly disparate conditions are actually conceptually related. This volume marks the beginning of researchers' efforts to integrate the field of stereotyped movements and provides an important bridge between behavioral and biomedical approaches.
The field of stereotyped movements has been disjointed, with one group of researchers interested in the tardive dyskinetic movements of psychiatric patients treated with neuroleptics, another group focused on the stereotyped movements of developmentally disabled children, and another group following the developmental path of such behavior in children, and so on. Typically, each group of researchers has its own set of assumptions and methodologies.
This volume brings together noted researchers from these diverse areas to enhance the level of communication between these various subdisciplines and help bring synthesis to the field. New conceptual tools for understanding stereotypy are presented, along with recent research into the neurological context of stereotypy and intriguing new methods for measuring repetitive actions. The authors of this volume clarify the theoretical framework of stereotypy and point toward important areas of future research. This publication is one in a series based on the collaborative efforts of the APA Science Directorate and the APA Office of Communications.