Temporal orienting of attention can affect multiple stages of processing to guide adaptive behaviour. We tested whether temporal expectation in different task contexts is compromised in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD). In Experiment 1 two temporal-orienting tasks were used: a speeded task emphasizing motor preparation and a non-speeded task emphasizing perceptual discrimination using rapid serial visual presentation. In both tasks, auditory cues indicated the likelihood of a target appearing after a short or long interval. In the speeded-response task, participants used the cues to anticipate an easily detectable target stimulus. In the non-speeded perceptual-discrimination task, participants used the cues to help discriminate a target letter embedded in a stream of letters. Relative to healthy participants, participants with PD did not show altered temporal orienting effects in the speeded-response task. However, they were impaired in using temporal cues to improve perceptual discrimination. In Experiment 2, we tested whether the temporal-orienting deficits in the perceptual-discrimination task depended on the requirement to ignore temporally distracting stimuli. We replicated the impaired temporal orienting for perceptual discrimination in an independent group of individuals with PD, and showed the impairment was abolished when individuals were on their dopaminergic medication. In a task without any distracting letters, however, patients off or on medication benefited normally from temporal orienting cues. Our findings suggest that deficits in temporal orienting in individuals with PD interact with specific task demands, such as the requirement to select target from temporally competing distractors.
Eur J Neurosci
Parkinson's disease, RSVP, attention, expectation, temporal orienting