Functional inhibition of the human middle temporal cortex affects non-visual motion perception: A repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation study during tactile speed discrimination

Emiliano Ricciardi, Demis Basso, Lorenzo Sani, Daniela Bonino, Tomaso Vecchi, Pietro Pietrini, Carlo Miniussi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The visual motion-responsive middle temporal complex (hMT+) is activated during tactile and aural motion discrimination in both sighted and congenitally blind individuals, suggesting a supramodal organization of this area. Specifically, non-visual motion processing has been found to activate the more anterior portion of the hMT+. In the present study, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) was used to determine whether this more anterior portion of hMT+ truly plays a functional role in tactile motion processing. Sixteen blindfolded, young, healthy volunteers were asked to detect changes in the rotation velocity of a random Braille-like dot pattern by using the index or middle finger of their right hand. rTMS was applied for 600 ms (10 Hz, 110% motor threshold), 200 ms after the stimulus onset with a figure-of-eight coil over either the anterior portion of hMT+ or a midline parieto-occipital site (as a control). Accuracy and reaction times were significantly impaired only when TMS was applied on hMT+, but not on the control area. These results indicate that the recruitment of hMT+ is necessary for tactile motion processing, and thus corroborate the hypothesis of a 'supramodal' functional organization for this sensory motion processing area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Volume236
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

Keywords

  • hMT+
  • Supramodality
  • Tactile motion
  • TMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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