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The impact of basal ganglia lesions on sensorimotor synchronization, spontaneous motor tempo, and the detection of tempo changes

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Schwartze,  Michael
Minerva Research Group Neurocognition of Rhythm in Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Keller,  Peter E.
Max Planck Research Group Music Cognition and Action, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Kotz,  Sonja A.
Minerva Research Group Neurocognition of Rhythm in Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Schwartze, M., Keller, P. E., Patel, A. D., & Kotz, S. A. (2011). The impact of basal ganglia lesions on sensorimotor synchronization, spontaneous motor tempo, and the detection of tempo changes. Behavioural Brain Research, 216(2), 685-691. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2010.09.015.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-28C4-9
Abstract
The basal ganglia (BG) are part of extensive subcortico-cortical circuits that are involved in a variety of motor and non-motor cognitive functions. Accumulating evidence suggests that one specific function that engages the BG and associated cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuitry is temporal processing, i.e., the mechanisms that underlie the encoding, decoding and evaluation of temporal relations or temporal structure. In the current study we investigated the interplay of two processes that require precise representations of temporal structure, namely the perception of an auditory pacing signal and manual motor production by means of finger tapping in a sensorimotor synchronization task. Patients with focal lesions of the BG and healthy control participants were asked to align finger taps to tone sequences that either did or did not contain a tempo acceleration or tempo deceleration at a predefined position, and to continue tapping at the final tempo after the pacing sequence had ceased. Performance in this adaptive synchronization-continuation paradigm differed between the two groups. Selective damage to the BG affected the abilities to detect tempo changes and to perform attention-dependent error correction, particularly in response to tempo decelerations. An additional assessment of preferred spontaneous, i.e., unpaced but regular, production rates yielded more heterogeneous results in the patient group. Together these findings provide evidence for less efficient processing in the perception and the production of temporal structure in patients with focal BG lesions. The results also support the functional role of the BG system in attention-dependent temporal processing.