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May 14, 2021
Objective: Right brain-damaged patients may show omissions and/or additional marks in target cancellation. The latter is classified as perseverative behavior and has been attributed to defective response inhibition or attentional disengagement deficit. This study aimed at (a) verifying that consecutive (immediate) and return (temporally distant) motor perseverations could be due to different mechanisms; (b) investigating the relationships among different types of perseveration (e.g., consecutive, return, scribble), spatial neglect and the impairment in specific components of executive functioning. Method: Seventeen right brain-damaged patients underwent letter, star, bell, and apple cancellation tasks. A global index for each type of perseveration found and Mean Position of Hits, as a neglect index, were calculated. The following components of executive functioning were evaluated: motor programming (Frontal Assessment Battery [FAB] subtest), inhibitory control FAB, interference sensitivity (FAB and Stroop color–word interference test), set-shifting (Weigl sorting test, Phonemic/semantic alternate fluencies), and working memory (Backward Digit span). Results: Ten patients out of 17 showed some degree of perseveration. Regularized linear regression analyses demonstrated that interference sensitivity and Stroop test performances were related to return perseverations and backward digit to scribble ones. No significant relationships were found for consecutive perseverations and between neglect and any type of perseverations. Conclusions: The present study showed that return perseverations might have a distinct etiology from consecutive ones, being related to an inability to update and shift between action programs according to the visual stimuli. A finer classification of perseverations could help in unveiling the neuropsychological mechanisms underlying each type of behavior. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

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