Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The internal control of action and Parkinson's disease: a kinematic analysis of visually-guided and memory-guided prehension movements

  • 125 Accesses

  • 40 Citations


This paper reports two experiments which examined the effects of Parkinson's disease (PD) upon the sensorimotor mechanisms used to control prehension movements. Transport and grasp kinematics for visually-guided and memory-guided prehension movements were examined in healthy control subjects and compared against those of patients with idiopathic PD. Two research questions were addressed: (1) Are patients with PD particularly susceptible to distraction by non-relevant objects? (2) Are patients with PD especially reliant on external feedback when executing goal-directed actions? The results indicated that the patient group were no more susceptible to distraction by non-relevant objects than the control group. In contrast, the patients with PD were shown to be significantly, impaired when executing memory-guided reaches. Furthermore, the deficits exhibited by the PD group on memory-guided reaches were confined solely to those markers associated with the transport component of the prehension movement. That is, while both controls and patients with PD widened their grip aperture on memory-guided trials, the magnitude of this adjustment was comparable across the two groups. The implications of these findings for theories of visuomotor processing in sufferers of PD and the control of prehension movements more generally are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Benecke R, Rothwell JC, Dick JPR, Day BL, Marsden CD (1986) Performance of simultaneous movements in patients with Parkinson's disease. Brain 109:739–757

  2. Berardelli A, Dick JPR, Rothwell JC, Day BL, Marsden CD (1986) Scaling of the first agonist EMG burst during rapid wrist movements in patients with Parkinson's disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatr 49:1273–1279

  3. Bloxham CA, Mindel TA, Frith CD (1984) Initiation and execution of predictable and unpredictable movements in Parkinson's disease. Brain 107:371–384

  4. Brooks VB (1986) The neural basis of motor control. University Press, New York, Oxford

  5. Brown RG, Marsden CD (1988) Internal versus external cues and the control of attention in Parkinson's disease. Brain 111:323–345

  6. Castiello U, Bennett KMB, Mucignat C (1993) The reach to grasp of blind subjects. Exp Brain Res 96:152–162

  7. Crawford TJ, Henderson L, Kennard C (1989) Abnormalities of non-visually-guided eye movements in Parkinson's disease. Brain 112:1573–1586

  8. Funahashi S, Bruce CJ, Goldman-Rakic PS (1986) Perimetry of spatial memory representation in primate prefrontal cortex: evidence for a mnemonic hemianopia. Soc Neurosci Abstr 12:554

  9. Funahashi S, Bruce CJ, Goldman-Rakic PS (1989) Mnemonic coding of visual space in the primate dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. J Neurophysiol 61:331–349

  10. Funahashi S, Bruce CJ, Goldman-Rakic PS (1990) Visuospatial coding in primate prefrontal neurons revealed by oculomotor paradigms. J Neurophysiol 63(4):814–831

  11. Gentilucci M, Fogassi L, Luppino G, Matelli M, Camarda R, Rizzolatti G (1988) Functional organization of inferior area 6 in the macaque monkey. I. Somatotopy and the control of proximal movements. Exp Brain Res 71:475–490

  12. Goldman-Rakic PS (1987) Circuitry of primate prefrontal cortex and regulation of behavior by representational memory. In: Plum F, Mountcastle V (eds) Higher functions of the brain. (Handbook of physiology, sect 1, The nervous system, vol V).American Physiological Society, Bethesda

  13. Goldman-Rakic PS (1988) Topography of cognition: parallel distributed networks in primate association cortex. Annu Rev Neurosci 11:137–156

  14. Goldman-Rakic PS (1992) The prefrontal cortex and internally generated motor acts. Curr Opin Neurobiol 2:830–835

  15. Goodale MA (1993) Visual pathways supporting perception and action in the primate cerebral cortex. Curr Opin Neurobiol 3:578–585

  16. Goodale MA, Milner AD (1992) Separate visual pathways for perception and action. Trends Neurosci 15:20–25

  17. Goodale MA, Jakobson LS, Keillor JM (1994) Differences in the visual control of pantomimed and natural grasping movements. Neuropsychologia

  18. Hallett M (1985) Quantitative assessment of motor deficiency in Parkinson's disease: ballistic movements. In: Delwaide PJ, Agnoli A (eds) Clinical neurophysiology in parkinsonism. Elsevier, Amsterdam

  19. Hallett M, Khosbin S (1980) A physiological mechanism of bradykinesia. Brain 15:465–480

  20. Jackson S, Houghton G (1994) Sensorimotor selection and the basal ganglia: a neural-network model. In: Houk JC, Davis J (eds) Models of information processing in the basal ganglia. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass

  21. Jackson SR, Marrocco R, Posner MI (1994) Networks of anatomical areas controlling visuospatial attention. Neural Networks 7 (6/7):925–944

  22. Jackson SR, Jackson GM, Rosicky J (1995) Are non-relevant objects represented in working memory? The effect of non-target objects on reaching and grasping kinematics. Exp Brain Res 102:519–530

  23. Jakobson L, Goodale MA (1991) Factors affecting higher-order movement planning: a kinematic analysis of human prehension. Exp Brain Res 86:199–208

  24. Jeannerod M (1984) The timing of natural prehension movements. J Mot Behav 16:235–254

  25. Jeannerod M (1988) The neural and behavioural organization of goal-directed movements. Oxford University Press, Oxford

  26. Lueck CJ, Crawford TJ, Henderson L, Van Gisbergen JAM, Duysens J, Kennard C (1992) Saccadic eye movements in Parkinson's disease. II. Remembered saccades — towards a unified hypothesis? Q J Exp Psychol 45A(2):211–233

  27. Rizzolatti G, Gentilucci M (1988) Motor and visual-motor functions of the premotor cortex. In: Rakic P, Singer W (eds) Neurobiology of neocortex. Wiley, New York

  28. Rizzolatti G, Camarda R, Fogassi L, Gentilucci M, Luppino G, Matelli M (1988) Functional organization of inferior area 6 in the macaque monkey. II. Area F5 and the control of distal movements. Exp Brain Res 71:491–507

  29. Stelmach GE (1991) Basal ganglia impairment and force control. In: Requin J, Stelmach GE (eds) Tutorials in motor neuroscience. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht

  30. Teasdale N, Phillips J, Stelmach GE (1990) Temporal movement control in patients with Parkinson's disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatr 53:862–868

  31. Wing AM, Turton A, Fraser C (1986) Grasp size and accuracy of approach in reaching. J Mot Behav 18:245–260

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jackson, S.R., Jackson, G.M., Harrison, J. et al. The internal control of action and Parkinson's disease: a kinematic analysis of visually-guided and memory-guided prehension movements. Exp Brain Res 105, 147–162 (1995).

Download citation

Key words

  • Prehension
  • Reach to grasp
  • Working memory
  • Visual attention
  • Visual feedback
  • Human