The clinical and prognostic value of motor abnormalities in psychosis, and the importance of instrumental assessment

Peter N. van Harten, Sebastian Walther, Jerillyn S. Kent, Scott R. Sponheim, Vijay A. Mittal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Motor abnormalities comprise several clinical signs intrinsic to psychosis. Critically, these features are of prognostic value in individuals at-risk for psychosis, and for those in early stages of psychotic disorders. Motor abnormalities such as tremor, rigidity, and neurological soft signs often go unrecognized. Currently, advances in this area are limited by a paucity of theoretical conceptions categorizing or linking these behaviours to underlying neurobiology affected in psychosis. However, emerging technological advances have significantly improved the ability to detect and assess motor abnormalities with objective instruments in a timely and reliable manner. Further, converging evidence has laid the groundwork for theoretically and empirically derived categorization and conceptualization. This review summarizes these advances, stressing the importance of motor abnormalities for understanding vulnerability across different stages of psychosis and introducing these innovative instrumental approaches. Patients, researchers and clinicians will benefit from these new developments, as better assessment aids the development of targeted interventions to ultimately improve the care for individuals experiencing psychosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-487
Number of pages12
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Epidemiology
  • Instrumental assessment
  • Motor abnormalities
  • Movement disorders
  • Prognosis
  • Psychosis
  • Ultra high risk for psychosis


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