Learning the contingencies between a situational context (S), one's own responses (R), and their outcomes (O) and selecting responses according to their anticipated outcomes is the basis of a goal-directed behavior. Previous imaging studies found the angular gyrus (AG) to be correlated to both the representation of R-O associations and outcome-based response selection. Based on this correlational relationship, we investigated the causal link between AG function and goal-directed behavior in offline and online TMS experiments. To this end, we employed an experimental R-O compatibility paradigm testing outcome anticipation during response selection and S-R-O knowledge to probe S-R-O learning. In Experiment 1, we applied 1-Hz rTMS offline to the AG or the vertex before participants performed the experimental tasks. In Experiment 2, we applied online 10-Hz pulse trains to the AG or used sham stimulation during an early action selection stage in half of the trials. In both experiments, the R-O compatibility effect was unaltered when response selection was outcome-based, suggesting no causal role of the AG in outcome anticipation during response selection. However, in both experiments, groups with AG stimulation showed significantly modulated knowledge of S-R-O associations in a posttest. Additionally, in an explorative analysis, we found an induced R-O compatibility effect later in the experiment when response selection was guided by stimulus-response rules, suggesting reduced selectivity of outcome anticipation. We discuss possible compensatory behavioral and brain mechanism as well as specific TMS-related methodical considerations demonstrating important implications for further studies investigating cognitive function by means of TMS.
|Number of pages
|Journal of cognitive neuroscience
|Published - 1 Feb 2023
- Noninvasive brain-stimulation, Inferior parietal lobule, Effect compatibility, Ideomotor principle, Neural substrate, Tms, Cortex, Intention, Excitability, Experience, Parietal Lobe/physiology, Humans, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation/methods, Learning, Brain Mapping, Goals