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Brain. 2009 May;132(Pt 5):1386-95. doi: 10.1093/brain/awp052. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Do parkinsonian patients have trouble telling lies? The neurobiological basis of deceptive behaviour.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.


Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder with both motor symptoms and cognitive deficits such as executive dysfunction. Over the past 100 years, a growing body of literature has suggested that patients with Parkinson's disease have characteristic personality traits such as industriousness, seriousness and inflexibility. They have also been described as 'honest', indicating that they have a tendency not to deceive others. However, these personality traits may actually be associated with dysfunction of specific brain regions affected by the disease. In the present study, we show that patients with Parkinson's disease are indeed 'honest', and that this personality trait might be derived from dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex. Using a novel cognitive task, we confirmed that patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 32) had difficulty making deceptive responses relative to healthy controls (n = 20). Also, using resting-state (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET, we showed that this difficulty was significantly correlated with prefrontal hypometabolism. Our results are the first to demonstrate that the ostensible honesty found in patients with Parkinson's disease has a neurobiological basis, and they provide direct neuropsychological evidence of the brain mechanisms crucial for human deceptive behaviour.

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