Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Top-down control is critical to select goal-directed actions in changeable environments, particularly when several conflicting options compete for selection. In humans, this control system is thought to involve an inhibitory mechanism that suppresses the motor representation of unwanted responses to favor selection of the most appropriate action. Here, we aimed to evaluate the role of a region of the medial frontal cortex, the pre-SMA, in this form of inhibition by using a double coil TMS protocol combining repetitive TMS (rTMS) over the pre-SMA and a single-pulse TMS over the primary motor cortex (M1) during a visuomotor task that required participants to choose between a left or right button press according to an imperative cue. M1 stimulation allowed us to assess changes in motor excitability related to selected and nonselected (unwanted) actions, and rTMS was used to produce transient disruption of pre-SMA functioning. We found that when rTMS was applied over pre-SMA, inhibition of the nonselected movement representation was reduced. Importantly, this effect was only observed when the imperative cue produced a substantial amount of competition between the response alternatives. These results are consistent with previous studies pointing to a role of pre-SMA in competition resolution. In addition, our findings indicate that this function of pre-SMA involves the control of inhibitory influences directed at unwanted action representations.

Original publication

DOI

10.1162/jocn_a_00421

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Cogn Neurosci

Publication Date

10/2013

Volume

25

Pages

1634 - 1648

Keywords

Adult, Analysis of Variance, Choice Behavior, Conflict (Psychology), Electromyography, Evoked Potentials, Motor, Female, Frontal Lobe, Functional Laterality, Humans, Inhibition (Psychology), Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Orientation, Reaction Time, Time Factors, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation