No effects of 1 Hz offline TMS on performance in the stop-signal game

Maximilian A. Friehs*, Julia Siodmiak, Michelle C. Donzallaz, Dora Matzke, Ole Numssen, Christian Frings, Gesa Hartwigsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Stopping an already initiated action is crucial for human everyday behavior and empirical evidence points toward the prefrontal cortex playing a key role in response inhibition. Two regions that have been consistently implicated in response inhibition are the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the more superior region of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). The present study investigated the effect of offline 1 Hz transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the right IFG and DLPFC on performance in a gamified stop-signal task (SSG). We hypothesized that perturbing each area would decrease performance in the SSG, albeit with a quantitative difference in the performance decrease after stimulation. After offline TMS, functional short-term reorganization is possible, and the domain-general area (i.e., the right DLPFC) might be able to compensate for the perturbation of the domain-specific area (i.e., the right IFG). Results showed that 1 Hz offline TMS over the right DLPFC and the right IFG at 110% intensity of the resting motor threshold had no effect on performance in the SSG. In fact, evidence in favor of the null hypothesis was found. One intriguing interpretation of this result is that within-network compensation was triggered, canceling out the potential TMS effects as has been suggested in recent theorizing on TMS effects, although the presented results do not unambiguously identify such compensatory mechanisms. Future studies may result in further support for this hypothesis, which is especially important when studying reactive response in complex environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11565
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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