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WIREs Cogn Sci
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How can transcranial magnetic stimulation be used to causally manipulate memory representations in the human brain?

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We present a focused review on the utility of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for modulating memory, with a particular focus on multimodal approaches in which TMS is paired with neuroimaging methods (electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) to manipulate and measure working memory processes. We contrast the utility of TMS for manipulating memory with other forms of noninvasive brain stimulation, as well as different forms of TMS including single‐pulse, paired‐pulse and repetitive TMS protocols. We discuss the potential for TMS to address fundamental cognitive neuroscience questions about the nature of memory processes and representations, while acknowledging the considerable variability of behavioral and neural outcomes in TMS studies. Also discussed are the limitations of this technology, current advancements that have helped to defray the impact of these limitations, and suggestions for future directions in research and methodology.

This article is categorized under:

  • Neuroscience > Clinical Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience > Cognition
  • Psychology > Memory
Simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) setup with navigated brain stimulation (NBS, Reprinted with permission from Rosanova et al. (). Copyright 2012 Springer Nature)
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In this task, two visual stimuli are presented (left and right of central fixation) and retained. Retro‐cues indicate which item will be tested first (red ribbon), and then which item will be tested second (blue ribbon) with 100% validity. The first retro‐cue causes the cued item to be in an attended state while the other item transitions to an unattended state. This unattended item must be retained, however, because there is 50% chance that it will be cued and tested on the second half of the trial. Data depict average MVPA classifier evidence from wholebrain fMRI for the cued, uncued, and irrelevant (absent, gray ribbon) category (face, word, and motion, respectively, in the example trial) as a function of time from stimuli presentation (in MRI TR #, with 1 TR = 2 s). Ribbon width reflects ±1SEM. TMS was applied to category selective nodes in a distributed network, identified by wholebrain searchlight MVPA of fMRI data. Light blue ribbons depict the TMS‐induced reactivation of latent WM. Classifier performance decoded the unattended memory item (UMI) category from EEG oscillations on targeted and nontargeted trials relative to absent trials from the time of presentation of the UMI (blue circle) and attended memory item (AMI, red circle) 5–7 s before cueing the AMI (red triangle), at which point classifier evidence of the UMI category dropped to baseline (note that the AMI decoding time series is not shown for simplicity). Administering TMS caused a return of neural evidence of the UMI category, especially when TMS targeted the category of the UMI on that trial; then the evidence for the UMI returned to baseline while the AMI category was tested (red rectangle) (for details, see Rose et al., )
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Psychology > Memory
Neuroscience > Cognition
Neuroscience > Clinical Neuroscience

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