Intact wayfinding abilities in patients with Parkinson's disease

Yingying Yang, Yingwei (Catherine) Wu, Lulu Jiang, Ling Chen, Zhong Pei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Previous studies have found that patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD) showed impairments in certain aspects of spatial orientation. The current study aimed to systematically investigate whether these impairments extend to wayfinding abilities in patients with PD. Wayfinding refers to the ability to navigate to an unseen location in the environment and is essential to one's everyday functioning. Methods: A total of 24 patients with PD, 20 ability matched controls, 21 college students participated in a series of experimental behavioral tasks and a self-report of environmental abilities. In the route learning task, participants learned and then recalled routes. In the survey learning task, participants were asked to form configurational or survey knowledge. In the map tracing tack, participants were asked to trace the turning directions of a route on a map. Results: Patients with PD showed no impairments in the behavioral measures of wayfinding relative to ability matched controls. Both groups performed worse than college students, who had higher cognitive levels. Patients with PD, however, reported a higher competency in environmental abilities than college students. Conclusion: Although wayfinding abilities may decrease as cognitive abilities decline, they do not appear as a unique impairment for patients with PD relative to their cognitive level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100067
JournalClinical Parkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - 2020


  • Intelligence
  • Parkinson
  • Spatial
  • Wayfinding


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