Research Note

Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 172, Issue 4, pp 561-565

The influence of rTMS over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on intentional set switching

  • Marie-Anne VanderhasseltAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Ghent University Email author 
  • , Rudi De RaedtAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Ghent University
  • , Chris BaekenAffiliated withAcademic Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Free University of Brussels (V.U.B.)
  • , Lemke LeymanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Ghent University
  • , Hugo D’haenenAffiliated withAcademic Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Free University of Brussels (V.U.B.)

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High frequency (HF) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has an excitatory effect on neurons of a specific brain area. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has been associated with executive functions, such as task set switching. One important experimental paradigm for investigating such higher order cognitive control is the task-switching (TS) paradigm. A TS paradigm requires switching between two conditional response tasks with mutually incompatible response–selection rules. In the present study, the influence of HF rTMS over the right DLPFC in healthy female volunteers on a modified TS paradigm was investigated. As expected, reaction time on cued switching trials decreased significant after rTMS, as compared to non-cued switch trials. No changes emerged after the placebo sham condition. Mood remained unchanged after rTMS. These findings demonstrate the role of the right DLPFC in cued intentional set switch initiation.


RTMS Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex Task switching Executive functioning Intentional set