Visuospatial dysfunction and problem solving in Parkinson's disease

Neuropsychology. 1997 Jan;11(1):44-52. doi: 10.1037//0894-4105.11.1.44.


Individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) perform deficiently on Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices (RCPM), in contrast to their relatively good performance on many other problem-solving tasks. The question is raised as to whether a visuospatial deficit may account for poor RCPM performance in PD. The authors analyzed RCPM results in 50 nondemented participants with PD and 39 age-matched healthy control participants. The PD group made significantly more errors than the control group on all RCPM subtests, including the subtest that mainly assessed visuospatial function (RCPM-A). For the PD group, the composite score of other visuospatial tests, but not the composite scores of tests of executive function or verbal memory, significantly predicted performance on the RCPM-A. Visuospatial impairment in PD may arise from dysfunction of the basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuit that also includes the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and, importantly, the posterior parietal lobes.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*