Continuous force measurements reveal no inhibitory control deficits in Parkinson’s disease

Jade S. Pickering, Jennifer McBride, Iracema Leroi, Ellen Poliakoff

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Suppression of unwanted motor responses can be disrupted by Parkinson’s disease. People with Parkinson’s (PwP) can show maladaptive reward-driven behaviours in the form of impulse control behaviours, which are associated with the use of the dopaminergic treatments used to alleviate the motor symptoms of the disease. However, the effects of Parkinson’s itself on impulsive behaviour and control are unclear—empirical studies have yielded mixed findings, and some imaging studies have shown a functional deficit in the absence of a measurable change in behaviour. Here, we investigated the effects of Parkinson’s on response activation and control by studying the dynamics of response in standard inhibitory control tasks—the Stop Signal and Simon tasks—using a continuous measure of response force. Our results are largely in favour of the conclusion that response inhibition appears to be intact in PwP, even when using a more sensitive measure of behavioural control relative to traditional button-press measures. Our findings provide some clarity as to the effects of Parkinson’s on response inhibition and show continuous response force measurement can provide a sensitive means of detecting erroneous response activity in PwP, which could also be generalised to studying related processes in other populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1132
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental brain research
Issue number5
Early online date28 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Continuous force measurement
  • Impulsivity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Response inhibition
  • Simon task
  • Stop signal task


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