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J Neurosci. 2012 Aug 29;32(35):12258-67. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2511-12.2012.

Parietal influence on temporal encoding indexed by simultaneous transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography.

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Department of Neurology, Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Previous studies have suggested that contingent negative variation (CNV), as recorded by electroencaphalography (EEG), may serve as an index of temporal encoding. The interpretation of these studies is complicated by the fact that, in a majority of studies, the CNV signal was obtained at a time when subjects were not only registering stimulus duration but also making decisions and preparing to act. Previously, we demonstrated that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the right supramarginal gyrus (rSMG) in humans lengthened the perceived duration of a visual stimulus (Wiener et al., 2010a), suggesting the rSMG is involved in basic encoding processes. Here, we report a replication of this effect with simultaneous EEG recordings during the encoding of stimulus duration. Stimulation of the rSMG led to an increase in perceived duration and the amplitude of N1 and CNV components recorded from frontocentral sites. Furthermore, the size of the CNV amplitude, but not N1, positively correlated with the size of the rTMS effect but negatively correlated with bias (the baseline tendency to report a comparison stimulus as shorter), suggesting that the CNV indexes stimulus duration. These results suggest that a feedforward mechanism from parietal to prefrontal regions mediates temporal encoding and demonstrate a dissociation between early and late phases of encoding processes.

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