Impaired extra-dimensional shift performance in medicated and unmedicated Parkinson's disease: evidence for a specific attentional dysfunction

Neuropsychologia. 1989;27(11-12):1329-43. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(89)90128-0.


Groups of patients with Parkinson's disease, either medicated, or unmedicated and early in the course, together with age- and IQ-matched control subjects were tested in two paradigms measuring different aspects of selective attention. The first set of tests compared visual discrimination learning following intra- and extra-dimensional shifts, using a "total change" design in which each shift was made in the presence of novel exemplars of the compound stimuli used as discriminanda. The second test consisted of a visual search task in which the number of alternatives was varied. The results of the first experiment showed a selective deficit in both groups of Parkinsonian subjects in their ability to perform an extra-dimensional shift. In the visual search task, the patients were less accurate, but responded with equivalent choice reaction times to those of controls. The results are discussed in terms of the nature of the attentional dysfunction that occurs in Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attention* / drug effects
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Form Perception* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual* / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Reaction Time* / drug effects
  • Trihexyphenidyl / therapeutic use*


  • Levodopa
  • Trihexyphenidyl