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What is TMS?

TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) is a non-invasive technique that enables us to stimulate the human brain function. TMS works by passing an electrical current through a metal coil, generating a rapidly changing magnetic field which, when held close to the scalp, induces a weak current in the adjacent brain tissue. By applying TMS to different motor areas we can generate a response in the corresponding muscle (e.g. muscles in the hands or lips). This muscle activity is recorded using electrodes attached to the skin (electromyography; EMG). By using different frequencies, intensities and durations of stimulation we can either assess fluctuations in brain activity or induce temporary changes in brain function. Our research group is particularly interested in using TMS to investigate whether the part of the brain involved in producing speech (by moving our lips and tongue) helps us to understand speech.

Please see the Speech Perception  for empirical work using different TMS techniques to investigate the role of motor cortex in speech perception.