Perceptual, Cognitive, and Personality Rigidity in Parkinson's Disease

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is associated with motor and non-motor rigidity symptoms (e.g., cognitive and personality). The question is raised as to whether rigidity in PD also extends to perception, and if so, whether perceptual, cognitive, and personality rigidities are correlated. Bistable stimuli were presented to 28 non-demented individuals with PD and 26 normal control adults (NC). Necker cube perception and binocular rivalry were examined during passive viewing, and the Necker cube was additionally used for two volitional-control conditions: Hold one percept in front, and Switch between the two percepts. Relative to passive viewing, PD were significantly less able than NC to reduce dominance durations in the Switch condition, indicating perceptual rigidity. Tests of cognitive flexibility and a personality questionnaire were administered to explore the association with perceptual rigidity. Cognitive flexibility was not correlated with perceptual rigidity for either group. Personality (novelty seeking) correlated with dominance durations on Necker passive viewing for PD but not NC. The results indicate the presence in mild-moderate PD of perceptual rigidity and suggest shared neural substrates with novelty seeking, but functional divergence from those supporting cognitive flexibility. The possibility is raised that perceptual rigidity may be a harbinger of cognitive inflexibility later in the disease course.

Original Citation

Diaz-Santos, M., Cao, B., Yazdanbakhsh, A., Norton, D.J., Neargarder, S., & Cronin-Golomb, A. (2015). Perceptual, Cognitive, and Personality Rigidity in Parkinson's Disease. Neuropsychologia. 69, 183-193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.01.044