Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Melissa Lamar
  • David J. LibonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56782-2_1619-2



Perseveration is best described as the repetitive or recurrent use of a behavioral response that is no longer contextually appropriate.

Historical Background

Introduced in 1895 by Neisser, (see Sandson and Albert 1984) perseverative behavior was first described as a reflection of a presumed, albeit undetermined, common deficit underlying such disorders as psychosis and aphasia. Given the variety of behaviors encompassed by perseveration, classification systems emerged almost immediately. In 1905, Leipmann (see Sandson and Albert 1984) proposed three types of perseverative behavior: tonic, clonic, and intentional. Tonic perseveration occurred when an individual was seemingly “frozen” in the middle of an action, unable to release or complete the intended act such as being unable to release after having initiated a hand shake. Clonicperseverations described an inability to disengage from a specific activity, e.g., continuing to draw circles...

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References and Reading

  1. Goldberg, E. (1986). Varieties of perseveration: A comparison of two taxonomies. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 8, 710–726.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Goldberg, E., & Bilder, R. (1987). The frontal lobes and hierarchical organization of cognitive control. In E. Perecman (Ed.), The frontal lobes revised (pp. 159–187). New York: IRBN Press.Google Scholar
  3. Lamar, M., Podell, K., Carew, T. G., Cloud, B. S., Kennedy, C., Goldberg, E., et al. (1997). Perseverative behavior in Alzheimer’s disease and subcortical ischaemic vascular dementia. Neuropsychology, 11, 523–534.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Luria, A. R. (1980). Higher cortical functions in man. New York: Basic Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Sandson, J., & Albert, M. L. (1984). Varieties of perseveration. Neuropsychologia, 22, 715–732.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rush Alzheimer’s Disease CenterChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Geriatrics, Gerontology, and PsychologyRowan University, New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, School of Osteopathic MedicineStratfordUSA