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Neuroimage. 2006 Feb 15;29(4):1326-35. Epub 2005 Sep 26.

The temporal characteristics of motion processing in hMT/V5+: combining fMRI and neuronavigated TMS.

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Department of Neurocognition, Faculty of Psychology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, Postbus 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Functional imaging has demonstrated the specific involvement of the human middle-temporal complex (hMT/V5+) during processing of moving stimuli. Some studies applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate the causal relevance of hMT/V5+ for motion perception. Although the studies used similar visual stimuli and TMS parameters, the critical time point of functionally relevant hMT/V5+ activity differed by 100 ms and more. The present study aimed to elucidate further the temporal characteristics of motion processing in hMT/V5+ by investigating all critical time windows currently debated in the literature. In contrast to previous studies, we used TMS neuronavigation based on individual fMRI results of five participants to target hMT/V5+, applying single-pulse TMS at 24 different time windows (-50 till +200 ms relative to stimulus onset). We revealed that TMS significantly impaired motion perception when applied over hMT/V5+ at 40 to 30 ms before as well as 130 to 150 ms after onset of the moving stimuli. While the late effective time window conforms to results from previous experiments, we did not find evidence for an early time window around 0 ms that has been reported in other studies. Our neuronavigation approach enabled us to quantify the interindividual variance in the exact location of hMT/V5+ and the respective TMS target position on the skull of the participants. Considering that shifting the TMS coil position only by a few millimeters can already lead to a complete loss of TMS effects, our study clearly demonstrates the utility of neuronavigated TMS when investigating specific neuronal effects as in the case of motion processing.

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