Cerebellar Contribution to Mental Rotation: a cTBS Study
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A cerebellar role in spatial information processing has been advanced even in the absence of physical manipulation, as occurring in mental rotation. The present study was aimed at investigating the specific involvement of left and right cerebellar hemispheres in two tasks of mental rotation. We used continuous theta burst stimulation to downregulate cerebellar hemisphere excitability in healthy adult subjects performing two mental rotation tasks: an Embodied Mental Rotation (EMR) task, entailing an egocentric strategy, and an Abstract Mental Rotation (AMR) task entailing an allocentric strategy. Following downregulation of left cerebellar hemisphere, reaction times were slower in comparison to sham stimulation in both EMR and AMR tasks. Conversely, identical reaction times were obtained in both tasks following right cerebellar hemisphere and sham stimulations. No effect of cerebellar stimulation side was found on response accuracy. The present findings document a specialization of the left cerebellar hemisphere in mental rotation regardless of the kind of stimulus to be rotated.
KeywordsCerebellum Mental rotation cTBS Allocentric–egocentric strategy
The work was supported by a grant from Italian Minister of Health to M.O.
Conflict of Interest
None of the authors has a conflict of interest with respect to the purposes of the present study.
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