Echolalia is the involuntary automatic repetition of an interviewer’s speech. This may be observed in a variety of clinical situations:

  1. Transcortical sensory aphasia:

In the context of a fluent aphasia with repetition often well or normally preserved, usually as a result of a vascular lesion of the left hemisphere although an analogous situation may be encountered in Alzheimer’s disease; "incorporational echolalia", when the patient uses the examiner’s question to help form an answer, may be observed as a feature of "dynamic aphasia" which bears resemblance to transcortical motor aphasia, but may result from a frontal lesion.

  1. Transcortical motor aphasia:

"Effortful echolalia" has been reported in the context of infarction of the left medial frontal lobe, including the supplementary motor area, showing that neither the ability to repeat nor fluent speech is required for echolalia.

  1. Gilles de la Tourette syndrome:

As a complex vocal tic, along with coprolalia.

  1. Alzheimer’s disease, Pick’s disease: As a symptom of dementia.
  2. Schizophrenia:

As a catatonic symptom.

  1. Early infantile autism, mental retardation:

As a reflection of pathological mental development.

  1. Frontal lobe lesions:

As a feature of imitation behavior.

  1. Normal children:

At a particular stage of language acquisition.



Hadano K, Nakamura H, Hamanaka T. Effortful echolalia. Cortex
1998; 34: 67-82


Cross References

Aphasia; Coprolalia; Dynamic aphasia; Imitation behavior; Jargon aphasia; Logorrhea; Palilalia; Transcortical aphasias