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Journal Article

Impairing somatosensory working memory using rTMS

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Auksztulewicz, R., Spitzer, B., Goltz, D., & Blankenburg, F. (2011). Impairing somatosensory working memory using rTMS. European Journal of Neuroscience, 34(5), 839-844. doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07797.x.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-262E-8
Numerous studies in animals and humans have related central aspects of somatosensory working memory function to neural activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). However, as previous studies have almost exclusively used correlational analyses, the question whether sustained neural activity in the IFG is causally involved in successful maintenance of somatosensory information remains unanswered. We used an online repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol to disrupt neuronal activity in the IFG while participants were maintaining tactile information throughout the delay for later comparison against a probe stimulus. rTMS impaired participants’ performance in the working memory task, but not in a physically matched perceptual control task. Targeting the IFG in either hemisphere led to comparable working memory impairment. Our results show that the neural activity in the IFG plays a causal role in successful maintenance of somatosensory information.