The main aim of this study was to test whether the use of rhythmic information to induce temporal expectations can overcome the deficit in controlled temporal preparation shown by patients with frontal damage (i.e. temporal orienting and foreperiod effects). Two tasks were administered to a group of 15 patients with a frontal brain lesion and a group of 15 matched control subjects: a Symbolic Cued Task where the predictive information regarding the time of target appearance was provided by a symbolic cue (short line-early vs. long line-late interval) and a Rhythm Cued Task where the predictive temporal information was provided by a rhythm (fast rhythm-early vs. slow rhythm-late interval). The results of the Symbolic Cued Task replicated both the temporal orienting deficit in right frontal patients and the absence of foreperiod effects in both right and left frontal patients, reported in our previous study (Triviño, Correa, Arnedo, & Lupiañez, 2010). However, in the Rhythm Cued Task, the right frontal group showed normal temporal orienting and foreperiod effects, while the left frontal group showed a significant deficit of both effects. These findings show that automatic temporal preparation, as induced by a rhythm, can help frontal patients to make effective use of implicit temporal information to respond at the optimum time. Our neuropsychological findings also provide a novel suggestion for a neural model, in which automatic temporal preparation is left-lateralized and controlled temporal preparation is right-lateralized in the frontal lobes.
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