Combined EEG and immersive virtual reality unveil dopaminergic modulation of error monitoring in Parkinson's Disease

R Pezzetta, D.G. Ozkan, V Era, G Tieri, S Zabberoni, S Taglieri, A Costa, A Peppe, C Caltagirone, S M Aglioti

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Detecting errors in your own and others' actions is associated with discrepancies between intended and expected outcomes. The processing of salient events is associated with dopamine release, the balance of which is altered in Parkinson's disease (PD). Errors in observed actions trigger various electrocortical indices (e.g. mid-frontal theta, error-related delta, and error positivity [oPe]). However, the impact of dopamine depletion to observed errors in the same individual remains unclear. Healthy controls (HCs) and PD patients observed ecological reach-to-grasp-a-glass actions performed by a virtual arm from a first-person perspective. PD patients were tested under their dopaminergic medication (on-condition) and after dopaminergic withdrawal (off-condition). Analyses of oPe, delta, and theta-power increases indicate that while the formers were elicited after incorrect vs. correct actions in all groups, the latter were observed in on-condition but altered in off-condition PD. Therefore, different EEG error signatures may index the activity of distinct mechanisms, and error-related theta power is selectively modulated by dopamine depletion. Our findings may facilitate discovering dopamine-related biomarkers for error-monitoring dysfunctions that may have crucial theoretical and clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalNPJ Parkinson's disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s).


S.M.A. is funded by the PRIN grant (Italian Ministry of University and Research, Progetti di Ricerca di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale, Edit. 2017, Prot. 2017N7WCLP). V.E. is funded by the BE-FOR-ERC grant (Sapienza University of Rome).

FundersFunder number
Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca2017N7WCLP
Sapienza Università di Roma


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