Utility of the 20-Item Noise Pareidolia Task (NPT-20) for Assessing Visuoperceptual Disturbances Associated with Complex Visual Hallucinations in Parkinson's Disease

Mov Disord Clin Pract. 2022 Oct 27;10(2):269-273. doi: 10.1002/mdc3.13599. eCollection 2023 Feb.


Background: Complex visual hallucinations (VH) are a common complication of Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent studies have demonstrated relevance of face pareidolia to VH in PD and Lewy body dementia (LBD).

Objective: This study examined utility of the 20-item Noise Pareidolia Task (NPT-20) in assessing visuoperceptual disturbances associated with VH in PD.

Methods: Retrospective chart review included 46 consecutive PD patients who completed NPT-20 during clinical neuropsychological evaluation.

Results: About half the sample (43%) reported VH. PD with VH made significantly more false-positive pareidolia errors on the NPT-20 (p < 0.0001). A cut-off of 2 errors yielded 40% sensitivity, 100% specificity to VH; cut-off of 1 yielded 75% sensitivity, 81% specificity. NPT-20 was not associated with any other clinical or demographic factor. Across groups, NPT-20 evinced moderate correlations with visuospatial functioning and visual memory.

Conclusions: Current findings support utility of the NPT-20 for evaluating visuoperceptual disturbances associated with VH in PD.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; pareidolia; psychosis; visual hallucinations; visual perception.