Parkinson's disease differentially affects adaptation to gradual as compared to sudden visuomotor distortions

Anusha Venkatakrishnan, Jean P. Banquet, Yves Burnod, José L. Contreras-vidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) have difficulties in movement adaptation to optimize performance in novel environmental contexts such as altered screen cursor-hand relationships. Prior studies have shown that the time course of the distortion differentially affects visuomotor adaptation to screen cursor rotations, suggesting separate mechanisms for gradual and sudden adaptation. Moreover, studies in human and non-human primates suggest that adaptation to sudden kinematic distortions may engage the basal ganglia, whereas adaptation to gradual kinematic distortions involves cerebellar structures. In the present studies, participants were patients with PD, who performed center-out pointing movements, using either a digitizer tablet and pen or a computer trackball, under normal or rotated screen cursor feedback conditions. The initial study tested patients with PD using a cross-over experimental design for adaptation to gradual as compared with sudden rotated hand-screen cursor relationships and revealed significant after-effects for the gradual adaptation task only. Consistent with these results, findings from a follow-up experiment using a trackball that required only small finger movements showed that patients with PD adapt better to gradual as against sudden perturbations, when compared to age-matched healthy controls. We conclude that Parkinson's disease affects adaptation to sudden visuomotor distortions but spares adaptation to gradual distortions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-769
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • 2330
  • 2340
  • 2343
  • Internal model
  • Motor processes
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Sensory perception
  • Trial and error learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biophysics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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