rTMS of medial parieto-occipital cortex interferes with attentional reorienting during attention and reaching tasks

J Cogn Neurosci. 2013 Sep;25(9):1453-62. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00409. Epub 2013 May 6.


Unexpected changes in the location of a target for an upcoming action require both attentional reorienting and motor planning update. In both macaque and human brain, the medial posterior parietal cortex is involved in both phenomena but its causal role is still unclear. Here we used on-line rTMS over the putative human V6A (pV6A), a reach-related region in the dorsal part of the anterior bank of the parieto-occipital sulcus, during an attention and a reaching task requiring covert shifts of attention and planning of reaching movements toward cued targets in space. We found that rTMS increased RTs to invalidly cued but not to validly cued targets during both the attention and reaching task. Furthermore, we found that rTMS induced a deviation of reaching endpoints toward visual fixation and that this deviation was larger for invalidly cued targets. The results suggest that reorienting signals are used by human pV6A area to rapidly update the current motor plan or the ongoing action when a behaviorally relevant object unexpectedly occurs in an unattended location. The current findings suggest a direct involvement of the action-related dorso-medial visual stream in attentional reorienting and a more specific role of pV6A area in the dynamic, on-line control of reaching actions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation*