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J Cogn Neurosci. 2010 Jan;22(1):23-31. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21191.

Fast forward: supramarginal gyrus stimulation alters time measurement.

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University of Pennsylvania, USA.


The neural basis of temporal processing is unclear. We addressed this important issue by performing two experiments in which repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) was administered in different sessions to the left or right supramarginal gyrus (SMG) or vertex; in both tasks, two visual stimuli were presented serially and subjects were asked to judge if the second stimulus was longer than the first (standard) stimulus. rTMS was presented on 50% of trials. Consistent with a previous literature demonstrating the effect of auditory clicks on temporal judgment, rTMS was associated with a tendency to perceive the paired visual stimulus as longer in all conditions. Crucially, rTMS to the right SMG was associated with a significantly greater subjective prolongation of the associated visual stimulus in both experiments. These findings demonstrate that the right SMG is an important element of the neural system underlying temporal processing and, as discussed, have implications for neural and cognitive models of temporal perception and attention.

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