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Effects of parietal TMS on somatosensory judgments challenge interhemispheric rivalry accounts


Eshel, N; Ruff, Christian C; Spitzer, B; Blankenburg, F; Driver, J (2010). Effects of parietal TMS on somatosensory judgments challenge interhemispheric rivalry accounts. Neuropsychologia, 48(12):3470-3481.

Abstract

Interplay between the cerebral hemispheres is vital for coordinating perception and behavior. One influential account holds that the hemispheres engage in rivalry, each inhibiting the other. In the somatosensory domain, a seminal paper claimed to demonstrate such interhemispheric rivalry, reporting improved tactile detection sensitivity on the right hand after transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the right parietal lobe (Seyal, Ro, & Rafal, 1995). Such improvement in tactile detection ipsilateral to TMS could follow from interhemispheric rivalry, if one assumes that TMS disrupted cortical processing under the coil and thereby released the other hemisphere from inhibition. Here we extended the study by Seyal et al. (1995) to determine the effects of right parietal TMS on tactile processing for either hand, rather than only the ipsilateral hand. We performed two experiments applying TMS in the context of median-nerve stimulation; one experiment required somatosensory detection, the second somatosensory intensity discrimination. We found different TMS effects on detection versus discrimination, but neither set of results followed the prediction from hemispheric rivalry that enhanced performance for one hand should invariably be associated with impaired performance for the other hand, and vice-versa. Our results argue against a strict rivalry interpretation, instead suggesting that parietal TMS can provide a pedestal-like increment in somatosensory response.

Interplay between the cerebral hemispheres is vital for coordinating perception and behavior. One influential account holds that the hemispheres engage in rivalry, each inhibiting the other. In the somatosensory domain, a seminal paper claimed to demonstrate such interhemispheric rivalry, reporting improved tactile detection sensitivity on the right hand after transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the right parietal lobe (Seyal, Ro, & Rafal, 1995). Such improvement in tactile detection ipsilateral to TMS could follow from interhemispheric rivalry, if one assumes that TMS disrupted cortical processing under the coil and thereby released the other hemisphere from inhibition. Here we extended the study by Seyal et al. (1995) to determine the effects of right parietal TMS on tactile processing for either hand, rather than only the ipsilateral hand. We performed two experiments applying TMS in the context of median-nerve stimulation; one experiment required somatosensory detection, the second somatosensory intensity discrimination. We found different TMS effects on detection versus discrimination, but neither set of results followed the prediction from hemispheric rivalry that enhanced performance for one hand should invariably be associated with impaired performance for the other hand, and vice-versa. Our results argue against a strict rivalry interpretation, instead suggesting that parietal TMS can provide a pedestal-like increment in somatosensory response.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
8 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
08 University Research Priority Programs > Foundations of Human Social Behavior: Altruism and Egoism
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:21 Jan 2011 13:30
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:26
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0028-3932
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.07.031
PubMed ID:20678510
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-39666

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