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Phd project

Language processing, motor sequencing and working memory in Parkinson's disease

Period: September 2004 – February 2009





The main aim of the project is to gain insight into the role of the basal ganglia in sequential processes of language by charting the various language problems in Dutch speaking Parkinson's disease (PD) patients using different research techniques.

Planned research projects

We suggest 2 possible research projects to test our general hypothesis in Dutch speaking PD patients relative to healthy control subjects:

Project 1:

A prospective investigation of sequential processing in language at the prearticulatory and syntactic level. For this purpose we developed a linguistic battery composed of paper and pencil tasks and computer mediated linguistic tasks. We also administer a short neuropsychological battery to control for the influence of cognitive impairments on language performances.

Project 2:

To explore the neural mechanisms of sequential processing we will use the technique of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). We will apply fMRI, in order to find out which brain areas are involved in the linguistic processes we are tapping on, in working memory, and in motor tasks.


In addition to a theoretical interest, the project has social relevance as well. Knowledge of the underlying cause of the language deficits in PD can be seen as a starting point for the development of appropriate assessment and therapy materials for this patient group.


Prof. Dr. R. Bastiaanse, Prof. Dr. K.L. Leenders


Stichting Internationaal Parkinsonfonds (Hoofddorp, The Netherlands).


Center for Language and Cognition.


School of Behavioral and Cogniitve Neuroscience.