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Neuroimage. 2005 Jan 15;24(2):296-305. Epub 2004 Nov 24.

Exploring the contributions of premotor and parietal cortex to spatial compatibility using image-guided TMS.

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Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, Neuropsychiatric Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7085, USA.


Functional brain imaging studies have demonstrated increased activity in dorsal premotor and posterior parietal cortex when performing spatial stimulus-response compatibility tasks (SRC). We tested the specific role of these regions in stimulus-response mapping using single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Subjects were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) prior to the TMS session during performance of a task in which spatial compatibility was manipulated. For each subject, the area of increased signal within the regions of interest was registered onto their own high-resolution T1-weighted anatomic scan. TMS was applied to these areas for each subject using a frameless stereotaxic system. Task accuracy and reaction time (RT) were measured during blocks of compatible or incompatible trials and during blocks of real TMS or sham stimulation. On each trial, a single TMS pulse was delivered at 50, 100, 150, or 200 ms after the onset of the stimulus in the left or right visual field. TMS over the left premotor cortex produced various facilitatory effects, depending on the timing of the stimulation. At short intervals, TMS appeared to prime the left dorsal premotor cortex to select a right-hand response more quickly, regardless of stimulus-response compatibility. The strongest effect of stimulation, however, occurred at the 200-ms interval, when TMS facilitated left-hand responses during the incompatible condition. Facilitation of attention to the contralateral visual hemifield was observed during stimulation over the parietal locations. We conclude that the left premotor cortex is one of the cortical regions responsible for overriding automatic stimulus-response associations.

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