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Susceptibility to Geometrical Visual Illusions in Parkinson's Disorder

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Article number1289160
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/01/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Frontiers in Psychology
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Parkinson's disorder (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder affecting approximately 1-3% of the population aged 60 years
and older. In addition to motor difficulties, PD is also marked by visual disturbances, including depth perception, abnormalities in
basal ganglia functioning, and dopamine deficiency. Reduced ability to perceive depth has been linked to an increased risk of falling in this population. The purpose of this paper was to determine whether disturbances in PD patients’ visual processing manifest through atypical performance on visual illusion (VI) tasks. This insight will advance understanding of high-level perception in PD, as well as indicate the role of dopamine deficiency and basal ganglia pathophysiology in VIs susceptibility. Groups of 28 PD patients (Mage = 63.46, SD = 7.55) and 28 neurotypical controls (Mage = 63.18, SD = 9.39) matched on age, general cognitive abilities (memory, numeracy, attention, language), and mood responded to Ebbinghaus, Ponzo, and Muller-Lyer illusions in a computer-based task. Our results revealed no reliable differences in VI susceptibility between PD and neurotypical groups. In the early- to mid-stage of PD, abnormalities of the basal ganglia and dopamine deficiency are unlikely to be involved in top-down processing or depth perception, which are both thought to be related to VI susceptibility. Furthermore, depth-related issues experienced by PD patients (e.g., increased risk for falling) may not be subserved by the same cognitive mechanisms as VIs. Further research is needed to investigate if more explicit presentations of illusory depth are affected in PD, which might help to understand the depth processing deficits in PD.