Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Tics and Emotions

Version 1 : Received: 13 January 2022 / Approved: 17 January 2022 / Online: 17 January 2022 (12:28:48 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Leisman, G.; Sheldon, D. Tics and Emotions. Brain Sci. 2022, 12, 242. Leisman, G.; Sheldon, D. Tics and Emotions. Brain Sci. 2022, 12, 242.


Tics can be associated with neurological disorders and are thought to be the result of dysfunctional basal ganglia pathways. In Tourette Syndrome (TS), excess dopamine in the striatum is thought to excite the thalamo-cortical circuits, producing tics. When external stressors activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, more dopamine is produced, furthering the excitation of tic-producing pathways. Emotional processing structures in the limbic are also activated during tics, providing further evidence of a possible emotional component in motor ticking behaviors. The purpose of the review is to better understand the relationship between emotional states and ticking behavior. We found support for the notion that premonitory-sensory phenomena (PSP), sensory stimulation, and other environmental stressors that impact the HPA-axis can influence tics through dopaminergic neurotransmission. Dopamine plays a vital role in cognition and motor control, and is an important neurotransmitter in the pathophysiology of other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which tend to be comorbid with ticking disorders and are thought to use similar pathways. It is concluded that there is an emotional component to ticking behaviors. Emotions primarily involving anxiety, tension, stress, and frustration have been associated with exacerbated tics, with PSP contributing to these feelings.


Tics; Emotions; Basal ganglia; Tourette's syndrome; dopamine; HPA-axis; Premontory sensory phenomena


Social Sciences, Behavior Sciences

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