Spatial judgment in Parkinson’s disease: Contributions of attentional and executive dysfunction.

Spatial judgment is impaired in Parkinson’s disease (PD), with previous research suggesting that disruptions in attention and executive function are likely contributors. If judgment of center places demands on frontal systems, performance on tests of attention/executive function may correlate with extent of bias in PD, and attentional disturbance may predict inconsistency in spatial judgment. The relation of spatial judgment to attention/executive function may differ for those with left-side versus right-side motor onset (LPD, RPD), reflecting effects of attentional lateralization. We assessed 42 RPD, 37 LPD, and 67 healthy control participants with a Landmark task (LM) in which a cursor moved horizontally from the right (right-LM) or left (left-LM). The task was to judge the center of the line. Participants also performed neuropsychological tests of attention and executive function. LM group differences were found on left-LM only, with both PD subgroups biased leftward of the control group (RPD p < .05; LPD p < .01; no RPD–LPD difference). For left-LM trials, extent of bias significantly correlated with performance on the cognitive tasks for PD but not for the control group. PD showed greater variability in perceived center than the control group; this variability correlated with performance on the cognitive tasks. The correlations between performance on the test of spatial judgment and the tests of attention/executive function suggest that frontal-based attentional dysfunction affects dynamic spatial judgment, both in extent of spatial bias and in consistency of response as indexed by intertrial variability. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)