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Basal ganglia, dopamine and temporal processing: Performance on three timing tasks on and off medication in Parkinson’s disease

Jones, Catherine RG and Malone, Tim JL and Dirnberger, Georg and Edwards, Mark and Jahanshahi, Marjan (2008) 'Basal ganglia, dopamine and temporal processing: Performance on three timing tasks on and off medication in Parkinson’s disease.' Brain and Cognition, 68 (1). pp. 30-41. ISSN 0278-2626

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A pervasive hypothesis in the timing literature is that temporal processing in the milliseconds and seconds range engages the basal ganglia and is modulated by dopamine. This hypothesis was investigated by testing 12 patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), both ‘on’ and ‘off’ dopaminergic medication, and 20 healthy controls on three timing tasks. In a seconds range (30–120 s) time production task, patients tested ‘on’ medication showed a significantly different accuracy profile compared to controls and when tested ‘off’ medication. However, no group or on vs off medication differences in accuracy were found on a time reproduction task and a warned reaction time task requiring temporal processing within the 250–2000 ms range. Variability was measured using the coefficient of variation, with the performance of the patient group on the time reproduction task violating the scalar property, suggesting atypical temporal processing mechanisms. The data suggest that the integrity of the basal ganglia is necessary for ‘typical’ time production in the seconds range as well as for time reproduction at shorter intervals. Exploratory factor analysis suggested that the time production task uses neural mechanisms distinct from those used in the other two timing tasks. The dissociation of the effects of dopaminergic medication and nature of task on performance in PD raises interesting questions about the pharmacological mediation and task-specificity of deficits in temporal processing.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Basal ganglia; Movement disorder; Temporal processing; Perceptual timing; Parkinson’s disease; Dopamine
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 10:20
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:34

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