We tested the efficiency of three attentional systems (spatial orienting, phasic alerting and executive control) in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), by using a modified version of the Attention Network Test, which employs acoustic tones to modulate phasic alertness. PD patients were generally slower than age-matched controls, but they showed a similar pattern of effects and interactions. Responses were faster with congruent than with incongruent stimuli (executive control), with valid visual cues than with invalid or no cues (orienting), and when acoustic tones preceded the target (alerting). This last effect was significantly larger in PD patients than in controls. We concluded that, for the present group of patients, the activity of attentional networks was relatively normal, if slowed. Slowed responses in PD may be improved by the use of acoustic stimuli, with potential clinical implications.
- executive control
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Clinical Neurology