Over the past several years, much empirical and theoretical effort has been devoted to understanding the interval time sense, processing of durations of the order of seconds, in animals. A coherent theoretical description of the central components of temporal processing has been elaborated, encompassing a wide variety of animal learning and psychophysics paradigms. More recently many of these paradigms have been studied with humans, confirming central features of our account. This and the companion proposal from Meck, extends this parallel study of human and animal timing. The present proposal is devoted to these paradigms in normative human populations and in patient populations with disorders of the basal ganglia showing aberrant temporal processing. Disorders of the basal ganglia interfere with certain components of temporal processing systems and present a profile of different kinds of dysfunctions associated with neural damage to different structures. This proposal contrasts these patient populations with normative data in experiments designed to reveal distinct components of cognitive impairment in temporal processing associated with distinct neural damage in striato-cortical networks. Two major classes of cognitive dysfunction are studied: one involving distortions in memory storage and/or retrieval of temporal information, and another specific to simultaneous processing of temporal information. The former is sensitive to dopaminergic regulation and the latter is associated with damage to structures in the striatum.
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