Psychogenic movement disorders (PMD) represent a diagnostically challenging group of patients in movement disorders. Finger tapping tests (FTT) have been used in neuropsychiatric evaluations to identify psychogenic conditions, but their use in movement disorders has been limited to the quantification of upper extremity disability in idiopathic Parkinson disease (IPD). We evaluated the ability of the FTT to objectively identify PMD by screening 195 individuals from a movement disorder clinic with IPD, dystonia, essential tremor, or PMD and compared them to 130 normal adults. All subjects performed six-30 s trials using alternate hands. We compared mean FTT score and the coefficient of variation between diagnostic groups. FTT scores in IPD were inversely correlated with Hoehn and Yahr stage (p < 0.001) and the United Parkinson Disease Rating Scale III (motor) subscale (p < 0.001). FTT scores were significantly lower in PMD (mean = 41.72) when compared to the other diagnostic groups after controlling for age. The coefficient of variation was not significantly different between diagnostic groups. ROC analysis identified a cutoff FTT ratio of 0.670 or less was 89.1% specific and 76.9% sensitive for the diagnosis of PMD. We conclude the FTT can provide supportive evidence for the diagnosis of PMD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-201
Number of pages5
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Dystonia
  • Essential tremor
  • Finger tapping
  • Idiopathic parkinson disease
  • Psychogenic movement disorders


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