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Predictive responses in Parkinson's disease: manual keypresses and saccadic eye movements to regular stimulus events

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1989
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number9
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)1033-1042
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In a coincidence timing task, Parkinsonian patients and a control group were instructed to synchronise a keypress with the onset of a visual signal which had been preceded by a regular train of warning signals. Although the Parkinsonian group had previously exhibited slower reactions in a conventional simple reaction-time task, they were able to generate predictive responses that fell as
close to the target onset as the controls' but showed greater variability. In a second experiment, Parkinsonian patients and controls made saccadic eye movements to a visual target that stepped at regular intervals between two fixed locations. After a few trials all the subjects tended to make predictive saccades that were initiated before the target excursion. However, the Parkinsonian group were slower to develop this strategy and when they did their saccades became considerably more hypometric than those of the controls. Both groups were able to maintain predictive responding even when the visual target disappeared and responses were paced by a buzzer. We concluded that
Parkinsonian patients are capable ofinitiating predictive responses of the eye and the hand, at least in some circumstances, but such responses tend to be inaccurate in execution. This, in turn, may dispose the Parkinsonian patient against predictive movement.