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Does Parkinson's disease affect judgments about another person's action?

Poliakoff E, Galpin A, Dick J, Tipper SP

Experimental Brain Research. 2010;204:327-333.

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The observer’s motor system has been shown to be involved in observing the actions of another person. Recent findings suggest that people with Parkinson’s disease do not show the same motor facilitatory effects when observing the actions of another person. We studied whether Parkinson’s patients were able to make unspeeded judgements about another person’s action. Participants were asked to watch video clips of an actor lifting a box containing different weights (100, 200, 300 or 400 g) and to guess the weight that was being lifted on a 9-point scale. We compared the performance of 16 patients with PD with 16 healthy age-matched controls. Both groups were able to do the task, showing a significant relationship between the real weight and the guessed weight, albeit with a tendency to overestimate the lowest weight and underestimate the heaviest weight. The PD patients, however, showed a reduced slope value. These results show that despite their own motor defcits, PD patients are still able to judge the weight being lifted by another person, albeit with a slight reduction in accuracy. Further research will be required to determine whether PD patients use a motor simulation or a visual compensatory strategy to achieve this.

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Created by:
Poliakoff, Ellen
29th January, 2010, 09:49:07
Last modified by:
Poliakoff, Ellen
Last modified:
10th March, 2014, 16:39:01

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