Imitation of Meaningless Gestures

Defective imitation of meaningless gestures has traditionally been considered a symptom of apraxia. Other symptoms of apraxia are disturbed production and imitation of meaningful gestures, such as waving goodbye or miming the use of a hammer, and disturbed use of real objects. However, there are, patients with pure "visuoimitative apraxia'' in whom defective imitation of meaningless gestures contrasts with preserved production and imitation of meaningful gestures and object use. It thus seems justified to discuss defective imitation of meaningless gestures as a separate disorder.

Defective imitation of meaningless gestures affects not only the translation of gestures from a model to the patient's own body but also translation to other human bodies. Patients who commit errors when imitating gestures also commit errors when asked to replicate a gesture on a mannikin or to select a gesture from an array of photographs showing gestures performed by different persons and shown at different angles.

Similar to the dissociation between autotopagnosia and finger agnosia, defective imitation of meaningless gestures can affect imitation of gestures defined by proximal body parts differently from finger

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