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Prog Brain Res. 2008;171:413-8. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(08)00660-2.

Using transcranial magnetic stimulation to probe decision-making and memory.

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Perception and Eye Movement Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Bern University Hospital, and University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.


Decision-making and memory are fundamental processes for successful human behaviour. For eye movements, the frontal eye fields (FEF), the supplementary eye fields (SEF), the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), the ventrolateral frontal cortex and the anterior cingulum are important for these cognitive processes. The online approach of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), i.e., the application of magnetic pulses during planning and performance of saccades, allows interfering specifically with information processing of the stimulated region at a very specific time interval (chronometry of cortical processing). The paper presents studies, which showed the different roles of the FEF and DLPFC in antisaccade control. The critical time interval of DLPFC control seems to be before target onset since TMS significantly increased the percentage of antisaccade errors at that time interval. The FEF seems to be important for the triggering of correct antisaccades. Bilateral stimulation of the DLPFC could demonstrate parallel information-processing transfer in spatial working memory during memory-guided saccades.

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