Neurological Sciences

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 829–837 | Cite as

Methylphenidate modifies activity in the prefrontal and parietal cortex accelerating the time judgment

  • Tiago Lopes FariasEmail author
  • Victor MarinhoEmail author
  • Valécia Carvalho
  • Kaline Rocha
  • Paulo Ramiler Alves da Silva
  • Francisca Silva
  • Ariel Soares Teles
  • Daya Gupta
  • Pedro Ribeiro
  • Bruna Velasques
  • Mauricio Cagy
  • Victor Hugo Bastos
  • Fernando Silva-Junior
  • Silmar Teixeira
Original Article


Methylphenidate produces its effects via actions on cortical areas involved with attention and working memory, which have a direct role in time estimation judgment tasks. In particular, the prefrontal and parietal cortex has been the target of several studies to understand the effect of methylphenidate on executive functions and time interval perception. However, it has not yet been studied whether acute administration of methylphenidate influences performance in time estimation task and the changes in alpha band absolute power in the prefrontal and parietal cortex. The current study investigates the influence of the acute use of methylphenidate in both performance and judgment in the time estimation interpretation through the alpha band absolute power activity in the prefrontal and parietal cortex. This is a double-blind, crossover study with a sample of 32 subjects under control (placebo) and experimental (methylphenidate) conditions with absolute alpha band power analysis during a time estimation task. We observed that methylphenidate does not influence task performance (p > 0.05), but it increases the time interval underestimation by over 7 s (p < 0.001) with a concomitant decrease in absolute alpha band power in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex (p < 0.001). Acute use of methylphenidate increases the time interval underestimation, consistent with reduced accuracy of the internal clock mechanisms. Furthermore, acute use of methylphenidate influences the absolute alpha band power over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and parietal cortex.


Methylphenidate Prefrontal cortex Parietal cortex Time estimation Alpha band Electroencephalography 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The Ethics Committee of the Federal University of Piauí approved all procedures, and participants provided written, informed consent (no. 1607069/2016).


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Copyright information

© Fondazione Società Italiana di Neurologia 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiago Lopes Farias
    • 1
    Email author
  • Victor Marinho
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Valécia Carvalho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kaline Rocha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paulo Ramiler Alves da Silva
    • 1
    • 3
  • Francisca Silva
    • 1
  • Ariel Soares Teles
    • 1
  • Daya Gupta
    • 4
  • Pedro Ribeiro
    • 5
  • Bruna Velasques
    • 5
  • Mauricio Cagy
    • 5
  • Victor Hugo Bastos
    • 6
  • Fernando Silva-Junior
    • 1
  • Silmar Teixeira
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Neuro-innovation Technology and Brain Mapping LaboratoryFederal University of PiauíParnaíbaBrazil
  2. 2.The Northeast Biotechnology NetworkFederal University of PiauíTeresinaBrazil
  3. 3.Masters Programs in BiotechnologyFederal University of PiauíParnaíbaBrazil
  4. 4.Department of BiologyCamden County CollegeBlackwoodUSA
  5. 5.Brain Mapping and Sensory Motor Integration LaboratoryInstitute of Psychiatry of Federal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  6. 6.Brain Mapping and Functionality LaboratoryFederal University of PiauíParnaíbaBrazil

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