Balls to the wall: How acoustic information from a ball in motion guides interceptive movement in people with Parkinson’s disease

M.M.N. Bieńkiewicz, W.R. Young, C.M. Craig

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Previous research has shown that Parkinson's disease (PD) patients can increase the speed of their movement when catching a moving ball compared to when reaching for a static ball (Majsak et al., 1998). A recent model proposed by Redgrave et al. (2010) explains this phenomenon with regard to the dichotomic organization of motor loops in the basal ganglia circuitry and the role of sensory micro-circuitries in the control of goal-directed actions. According to this model, external visual information that is relevant to the required movement can induce a switch from a habitual control of movement toward an externally-paced, goal-directed form of guidance, resulting in augmented motor performance (Bienkiewicz et al., 2013). In the current study, we investigated whether continuous acoustic information generated by an object in motion can enhance motor performance in an arm reaching task in a similar way to that observed in the studies of Majsak et al. (1998, 2008). In addition, we explored whether the kinematic aspects of the movement are regulated in accordance with time to arrival information generated by the ball's motion as it reaches the catching zone. A group of 7 idiopathic PD (6 male, 1 female) patients performed a ball-catching task where the acceleration (and hence ball velocity) was manipulated by adjusting the angle of the ramp. The type of sensory information (visual and/or auditory) specifying the ball's arrival at the catching zone was also manipulated. Our results showed that patients with PD demonstrate improved motor performance when reaching for a ball in motion, compared to when stationary. We observed how PD patients can adjust their movement kinematics in accordance with the speed of a moving target, even if vision of the target is occluded and patients have to rely solely on auditory information. We demonstrate that the availability of dynamic temporal information is crucial for eliciting motor improvements in PD. Furthermore, these effects appear independent from the sensory modality through-which the information is conveyed. 
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)508-518
    Number of pages11
    Early online date1 Jul 2014
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2014


    • Parkinson's disease, paradoxical kinesia, ball catching, time to contact, ecological sound, SUBTHALAMIC NUCLEUS, PARADOXICAL KINESIA, AUDITORY CUES, GAIT, CEREBELLUM, PERCEPTION, OSCILLATIONS, BRAIN, EYE, PD


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