Closing-in behaviour: Compensation or attraction?

Elisabetta Ambron, Nicoletta Beschin, Chiara Cerrone, Sergio Della Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Closing-in Behaviour (CIB) defines the abnormal misplacement of the copy performance, which is positioned very closed to or on the top of the model. This symptom is observed in graphic copying by patients suffering from different neurological diseases, most commonly dementia. The cognitive origins ofthis behaviour are still matter of investigation and research of the last ten years has been focused on exploring two main accounts of CIB, the compensation and the attraction hypotheses, providing evidence in both directions. While the first account defines CIB as a compensatory strategy to overcome visuo-spatial and/or working memory deficits during copying tasks, the attraction hypothesis looks at CIB as primitive default behaviour in which attention and action are closely coupled and movements are performed towards the focusof attention. Method:We explored these two hypotheses in a sample of patients with and without CIB, andcontrols through a series of four experiments: Experiment 1 and 2 tested the attraction hypothesis andrespectively the prediction that CIB can be elicited in a non-copying dual task condition loading uponattentional resources or by irrelevant attentional grabbing stimuli. The other two experiments investigated thecompensation hypothesis manipulating the distance between model and copying space (Experiment 3) and,the task (copying and tracing) and visual demand (visual copy and memory) (Experiment 4).Results:Theresults support the attraction hypothesis of CIB.Conclusions: CIB reflects an impairment of the attention andaction system, rather than a compensatory strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date19 Oct 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2017


  • closing-in behaviour
  • attention
  • visuospatial abilities
  • memory
  • copying

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