Impaired conflict monitoring in Parkinson's disease patients during an oculomotor redirect task


Fallibility is inherent in human cognition and so a system that will monitor performance is indispensable. While behavioral evidence for such a system derives from the finding that subjects slow down after trials that are likely to produce errors, the neural and behavioral characterization that enables such control is incomplete. Here, we report a specific role for dopamine/basal ganglia in response conflict by accessing deficits in performance monitoring in patients with Parkinson's disease. To characterize such a deficit, we used a modification of the oculomotor countermanding task to show that slowing down of responses that generate robust response conflict, and not post-error per se, is deficient in Parkinson's disease patients. Poor performance adjustment could be either due to impaired ability to slow RT subsequent to conflicts or due to impaired response conflict recognition. If the latter hypothesis was true, then PD subjects should show evidence of impaired error detection/correction, which was found to be the case. These results make a strong case for impaired performance monitoring in Parkinson's patients

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