Investigating the perceived timing of sensory events triggering actions in patients with Parkinson's disease and the effects of dopaminergic therapy
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Few studies have investigated if Parkinson's disease (PD), advancing age, or exogenous dopamine therapy affect the perceived timing of past events. Here we show a phenomenon of ‘temporal repulsion’ of a sensory event relative to an action decision in patients with PD. In these patients, the timing of a sensory event triggering an action was perceived to have occurred earlier in time than it really did. In other words, the event appeared to be pushed away in time from the performance of the action. This finding stands in sharp contrast to the ‘temporal binding’ we have observed here and elsewhere (Yabe et al., 2017; Yabe & Goodale, 2015) in young healthy participants for whom the perceived onset of a sensory event triggering an action is typically delayed, as if it were pulled towards the action in time. In elderly patients, sensory events were neither repulsed nor pulled toward the action decision event. Exogenous dopamine alleviated the temporal repulsion in PD patients and normalized the temporal binding in healthy elderly controls. In contrast, dopaminergic therapy worsened temporal binding in healthy young participants. We discuss this pattern of findings, relating temporal binding processes to dopaminergic and striatal mechanisms.