Misattribution of movement agency following right parietal TMS

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2008 Mar;3(1):26-32. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsm036. Epub 2007 Dec 3.


Single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to disrupt the right inferior parietal lobe (rIPL) whilst neurologically intact participants made self/other judgments about whole arm reaching movements. Visual feedback of a physically coincident virtual hand was perturbed or left unperturbed (randomly) while TMS was delivered to either the rIPL or the vertex (blocked). Visual feedback of the virtual hand was veridical until the hand became occluded by a virtual bar approximately half way through the movement. TMS was delivered on 50% of trials at random during occlusion of the hand. The position of the virtual hand relative to the real hand was also perturbed during occlusion of the virtual hand on 50% of trials at random. At the end of the reach participants were required to make a verbal judgment as to whether the movement they had seen was self (unperturbed) or other (perturbed). The results revealed that when TMS was applied over rIPL, participants were more likely to misattribute agency to the computer, making more other responses for both perturbed and unperturbed trials. These findings highlight the role of a parietal neural comparator as a low-level mechanism in the experience of agency.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arm
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Kinesthesis / physiology*
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Self Concept
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Young Adult