Perseveration is repetition or continuation of an action, a word, a movement, but also the continuation of an emotion.

Perseveration occurs in the following forms: verbosity, echolalia and stickiness. For example, mimicking behavior of others or parroting others, but also stick around long in a conversation or an emotion. Also, literally hanging on to others falls under the concept of perseveration.

It is most commonly seen in people who have suffered brain damage in the brains at the front, in the frontal lobe.

If you do not notice that someone is suffering from perseveration, a situation may be aggravated by rationalizing or giving a wise advice, or any other attempt to stop it.


It is important that people in the environment know that the person is unable to stop this behavior. Even if there may be negative consequences. The person probably does not see any other options to stop it. The severity of the problem varies.

There are three forms of perseveration:

  • Stuck in behavior, the subject or emotion
  • Repetition
  • Ongoing

It emerges in that the person may:

  • Be stuck in a particular behavior, movement, emotion, action, subject of discussion,
  • Return to certain behavior, movement, emotion, action or subject of discussion even when a different topic is discussed,
  • Be verbose,
  • Hang on to other persons,
  • Parrot others



  • A person continues to speak only about music even though there is a new subject of discussion,
  • A person unconsciously and unplanned writes an extra loop with a particular letter,
  • A person only mentions the word "red" in a test of naming colors even if brown or yellow was meant,
  • A person is only able to use a constantly repeated way in trying to solve a problem, even though he knows that this solution does not work,
  • A person can be grieved or angry about a situation for a longer time than normally expected,
  • A person can continue to monitor themselves for errors in the required and therefore never get any further.


We all know the phenomenon, whether we are sick or healthy, of a song that just lingers in your head. This can be repeated even in your dreams. Someone who suffers from perseveration by brain injury can experience the same discomfort by being stuck in a thought, an act, a word, an emotion (frustration) or a movement. This can be very limiting.



Treatment should be done carefully and can consist of:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy with peers
  • Medication


Perseveration is most common in some forms of dementia (Frontotemporal Dementia) and frontal lobe injury.

Read more about injury in the frontal lobes.