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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 38 (1996) 7

New research

Figure copying and psychomotor retardation in depression

J.J.M. van Hoof, B.G.C. Sabbe, W. Hulstijn, H. van Mier, B.J.M. Jogems-Kosterman

Psychomotor retardation is one of the central features of depression. It might be fruitfully studied by the computerized recording and analyzing of writing and drawing movements, e.g. in figure copying tasks. This was tested in the present study with 20 depressed patients. Patients needed more time to complete the tasks than controls and performed them in a different way. Differences in motor activity between a first and second testing correlated highly with clinical improvement. It is concluded that the study of these motor activities may help disentangling the more cognitive influences from the pure motor aspects. In addition it provides objective parameters to measure progress in therapy.