Impact of movie and video game elements on tic manifestation in children

Gal Raz*, Shiri Davidovitch, Mor Halevi, Maya Zuckerman, Yael Ben-Haim, Yuval Koryto, Tamar Steinberg, Yael Leitner, Michael S. Rotstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: Children in developed countries spend a significant portion of their waking hours engaging with audiovisual content and video games. The impact of media consumption on children's health and well-being has been widely studied, including its effects on tic disorders. Previous studies have shown that tic frequency can both increase and decrease during activities like gaming and television watching, resulting in mixed findings. Methods: To better understand the impact of audiovisual media on tics, we conducted a fine-grained tic manifestation analysis. We focused on the effects of the impact of a movie scene with suspensful elements and a video game designed to heighten anticipation, thought to stimulate phasic and striatal dopamine release. We closely monitored tic frequency throuhghout these experiences based on moment-to-moment tic annotation. The study included 20 participants (19 males aged 7-16) diagnosed with tic disorders (Yale Global Tic Severity Scale≥8), and we tested the replicability of our findings with an independent group of 36 children (15 females, aged 7-15) with tic disorders. Results: During film viewing, we observed significant synchronization in the temporal tic patterns of various individuals despite diversity in their tic profiles. Furthermore, employing a video game developed for our study, we found that tic frequency increases during anticipation of a pending reward. This finding was replicated in a second experiment with an independent cohort. Conclusions: Our results indicate that tic frequency is affected by media elements in the short-term, and call for further investigation of the long-term impacts of exposure to such tic triggers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16120
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


FundersFunder number
Lanir Ben Shoshan
Tourette Association of America
Tel Aviv University
Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University


    • Tourette syndrome
    • movies
    • tic disorders
    • video games


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