Eating and Weight Disorders vol:11 issue:3 pages:154-162
BACKGROUND: In the study of psychomotor performance in anorexia nervosa (AN), motor control has not been studied extensively. The present study explores sequence planning in a sample of AN patients. METHOD: A group of 26 female restricting AN inpatients, aged 14 to 25, was compared with 24 healthy women matched for age and educational level. During the performance of a simple copying task, in which movement planning, but not working capacity, was challenged, the ease with which generally favored graphic production rules could be applied was manipulated. Computerized recordings of the drawing movements allowed detailed analyses of reaction and movement times and of drawing sequences. Fifteen patients were retested after weight restoration, as were 15 controls. RESULTS: Copying patterns that normally elicit a conflict between preferred graphic production rules induced significantly less slowing in the reaction times of the anorexia nervosa patients than in the controls, both before and after weight restoration. There were no group differences as regards the consistency with which the implicit production rules were applied. DISCUSSION: AN patients seem to show a fast response style combined with good sequence planning capacity.