Eighteen patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and 18 healthy control subjects were presented with a switching task where stimuli elicited either one (no-conflict condition) or two (conflict condition) task-relevant stimulus-response mappings. The response stimulus interval (RSI) between trials was varied to allow investigation of the extent to which participants engaged in advanced preparation of task set. In line with previous findings, set-switching deficits of PD patients were only observed in the conflict condition. Prolonging the RSI led to a reduction of switch costs for control subjects in both the conflict and the no-conflict task, whereas this effect was attenuated for PD patients in the conflict condition. This deficit was explained in terms of a reduced ability to maintain cue-action representations active in working memory in high interference conditions, and was related to the possible role of the frontostriatal circuit in maintaining focussed attention
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