Paper: Dissociable Neural Systems for Timing: Evidence from Subjects with Basal Ganglia Lesions
Dissociable Neural Systems for Timing: Evidence from Subjects with Basal Ganglia Lesions
The neural basis of timing remains poorly understood. Although controversy persists, many lines of evidence, including studies in animals, functional imaging studies in humans and lesion studies in humans and animals suggest that the basal ganglia are important for temporal processing.
We report data from a wide range of timing tasks from two subjects with disabling neurologic deficits caused by bilateral lesions of the basal ganglia. Both subjects perform well on tasks assessing time estimation, reproduction and production tasks. Additionally, one subject performed normally on psychophysical tasks requiring the comparison of time intervals ranging from milliseconds to seconds; the second subject performed abnormally on the psychophysical task with a 300ms standard but did well with 600ms, 2000ms and 8000ms standards. Both subjects performed poorly on an isochronous rhythm production task on which they are required to maintain rhythmic tapping.
As studies of subjects with brain lesions permit strong inferences regarding the necessity of brain structures, these data demonstrate that the basal ganglia are not crucial for many sub- or supra-second timing operations in humans but are needed for the timing procedures that underlie the production of movements. This dissociation suggests that distinct and dissociable processes may be employed to measure time intervals. Inconsistencies in findings regarding the neural basis of timing may reflect the availability of multiple temporal processing routines that are flexibly implemented in response to task demands.
Source: PLoS One [Open Access]
Robert Karl Stonjek