Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 461–468 | Cite as

Error processing in patients with Parkinson’s disease: the influence of medication state

  • R. Willemssen
  • T. Müller
  • M. Schwarz
  • J. Hohnsbein
  • M. Falkenstein


One of the hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a depletion of dopamine. Error processing, as reflected in a component of the event-related potential, the so-called error (related) negativity (Ne or ERN) is likely dependent on the midbrain dopaminergic system. In case of an unfavourable event such as an error, this system is assumed to send an error signal to the mediofrontal cortex, which elicits the Ne. Hence, the Ne should be altered in patients with PD. In fact, we earlier found a reduction of the Ne in medicated patients with PD in different tasks while another group found no such reduction in “off-medication” patients in a flanker task. In the present study, we reinvestigated this issue by measuring the Ne in a large group of treated PD patients in the “on”- and “off”-parkinsonian medication state and in matched control subjects in a flanker task. The Ne was found to be the same in the “on-medication” and “off-medication” state, while the motor score in the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale was different. In both medication states the Ne was smaller in the patients than in the controls. The results show that the Ne reduction found earlier is unaffected by short-term differences in parkinsonian medication. The question remains open whether the long-term medication could have contributed to the Ne reduction.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; event-related potential (ERP); error processing; error negativity 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander, GE, Crutcher, MD 1990Functional architecture of basal ganglia circuits: neural substrates of parallel processingTrends Neurosci13266271PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander, GE, Crutcher, MD, DeLong, MR 1990Basal ganglia-thalamocortical circuits: parallel substrates for motor, oculomotor, “prefrontal” and “limbic” functionsProg Brain Res85119146PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Band, GP, Kok, A 2000Age effects on response monitoring in a mental-rotation taskBiol Psychol51201221PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beste, C, Saft, C, Andrich, J, Gold, R, Falkenstein, M 2006Error processing in Huntington’s diseasePLoS ONE1e86PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beste C, Saft C, Andrich J, Habbel A, Schepers I, Jansen A, Pfleiderer B, Falkenstein M (2007) Levels of error processing in Huntington’s disease: a combined study using event-related potentials and voxel-based morphometry. Hum Brain Mapp [Epub ahead of print]Google Scholar
  6. Carbonnell, L, Falkenstein, M 2006Does the error negativity reflect the degree of response conflict?Brain Res1095124130PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. De Bruijn, ERA, Hulstijn, W, Verkes, RJ, Ruigt, GSF, Sabbe, BGC 2004Drug-induced stimulation and suppression of action monitoring in healthy volunteersPsychopharmacology177151160PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dehaene, S, Posner, MI, Tucker, DM 1994Localization of a neural system for error detection and compensationPsychol Sci5303305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fahn, S, Elton, RL 1987

    The Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS)

    Fahn, SMarsden, CDCalne, DBGoldstein, M eds. Recent developments in Parkinson’s diseaseMacmillan Health Care InformationFlorham Park, NJ153163
    Google Scholar
  10. Falkenstein, M, Hohnsbein, J, Hoormann, J, Blanke, L 1990

    Effects of errors in choice reaction tasks on the ERP under focused and divided attention

    Brunia, CHMGaillard, AWKKok, A eds. Psychophysiological brain researchTilburg University PressTilburg192195
    Google Scholar
  11. Falkenstein, M, Hohnsbein, J, Hoormann, J, Blanke, L 1991Effects of crossmodal divided attention on late ERP components. II. Error processing in choice reaction tasksElectroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol78447455PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Falkenstein, M, Hohnsbein, J, Hoormann, J 1994Time pressure effects on late components of the event-related potential (ERP)J Psychophysiol82230Google Scholar
  13. Falkenstein, M, Hoormann, J, Christ, S, Hohnsbein, J 2000ERP components on reaction errors and their functional significance: a tutorialBiol Psychol5187107PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Falkenstein, M, Hoormann, J, Hohnsbein, J 2001aChanges of error-related ERPs with ageExp Brain Res138258262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Falkenstein, M, Hielscher, H, Dziobek, I, Schwarzenau, P, Hoormann, J, Sundermann, B, Hohnsbein, J 2001bAction monitoring, error detection, and the basal ganglia: an ERP studyNeuroreport12157161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Falkenstein, M, Willemssen, R, Hohnsbein, J, Hielscher, H 2006Effects of stimulus-response compatibility in Parkinson’s disease: a psychophysiological analysisJ Neural Transm11314491462PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fearnley, JM, Lees, AJ 1991Ageing and Parkinson’s disease: substantia nigra regional selectivityBrain11422832301PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ford, JM 1999Schizophrenia: the broken P300 and beyondPsychophysiology36667682PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gehring WJ, Coles MGH, Meyer DE, Donchin E (1990) The error-related negativity: an event-related brain potential accompanying errors. Psychophysiology S34 (SPR absracts)Google Scholar
  20. Hautzinger M, Bailer M, Worall H, Keller F (1995) Beck-Depressions-Inventar (BDI), Testhandbuch, 2. überarb. Aufl. Hans Huber (Bearbeitung der deutschen Ausgabe), BernGoogle Scholar
  21. Heaton RK (1993) Wisconsin Card Sorting Test – Computer Version 4 (WCST:CV4) – Research Edition Florida, LutzGoogle Scholar
  22. Holroyd, CB, Coles, MG 2002The neural basis of human error processing: reinforcement learning, dopamine, and the error-related negativityPsychol Rev109679709PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Holroyd, CB, Praamstra, P, Plat, E, Coles, MGH 2002Spared error-related potentials in mild to moderate Parkinson’s diseaseNeuropsychologia4021162124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kopp, B, Mattler, U, Goertz, R, Rist, F 1996N2, P3 and the lateralized readiness potential in a nogo task involving selective response primingElectroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol991927PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Lehrl, S 1977Mehrfachwahl-Wortschatz-Intelligenztest (MWT-B)PerimedErlangenGoogle Scholar
  26. Miltner, WHR, Braun, CH, Coles, MGH 1997Event-related brain potentials following incorrect feedback in a time-estimation task: evidence for a “generic” neural system for error detectionJ Cogn Neurosci9788798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nieoullon, A, Coquerel, A 2003Dopamine: a key regulator to adapt action, emotion, motivation and cognitionCurr Opin Neurol16S3S9PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Przuntek, H, Müller, T, Riederer, P 2004Diagnostic staging of Parkinson’s disease: conceptual aspectsJ Neural Transm111201216PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Riba, J, Rodriguez-Fornells, A, Morte, A, Münte, TF, Barbanoj, MJ 2005Noradrenergic stimulation enhances human action monitoringJ Neurosci2543704374PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Riederer, P, Wuketich, S 1976The time course of nigrostriatal degeneration in Parkinson’s disease. A detailed study of influential factors in human brain amine analysisJ Neural Transm38277301PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schultz, W, Dayan, P, Montague, PR 1997A neural substrate of prediction and rewardScience27515931599PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sturm W, Willmes K, Horn W (1993) Leistungsprüfsystem für 50–90jährige (LPS 50+). Hogrefe, GöttingenGoogle Scholar
  33. Ullsperger, M, von Cramon, DY 2006The role of intact frontostriatal circuits in error processingJ Cogn Neurosci18651664PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wascher, E, Reinhard, M, Wauschkuhn, B, Verleger, R 1999Spatial S-R compatibility with centrally presented stimuli: an event-related asymmetry study on dimensional overlapJ Cogn Neurosci11214229PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Willemssen, R, Hoormann, J, Hohnsbein, J, Falkenstein, M 2004Central and parietal event-related lateralizations in a flanker taskPsychophysiology41762771PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yordanova, J, Falkenstein, M, Hohnsbein, J, Kolev, V 2004Parallel systems of error processing in the brainNeuroimage22590602PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zirnheld, PJ, Carroll, CA, Kieffaber, PD, O’Donnell, BF, Shekhar, A, Hetrick, WP 2004Haloperidol impairs learning and error-related negativity in humansJ Cogn Neurosci1610981112PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Willemssen
    • 1
  • T. Müller
    • 2
  • M. Schwarz
    • 3
  • J. Hohnsbein
    • 1
  • M. Falkenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz Research Centre of Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo)DortmundGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurologySt. Josefs-Hospital, Ruhr-University of Bochum (RUB)BochumGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyKlinikum DortmundDortmundGermany

Personalised recommendations