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Mouthing Other People’s Words When They’re Talking

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Stephanie, a social worker in Tallahassee, Florida, talks with people all day long, and she’s noticed that sometimes when she’s talking to a client, that person starts silently mouthing Stephanie’s words. This may be a form of echolalia, the repetition of someone else’s vocalizations, or palialia, a language disorder involving the involuntary repetition of words, phrases, or syllables. It might also simply be a matter of mirroring the other person as the result of intense focus, or anticipating what they’re going to say in order to be ready to respond. This is part of a complete episode.

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