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TMS

The York TMS Lab was founded in 2008. It is located in the York Neuroimaging Center (YNIC) at the University of York, England.

TMS Lab

The TMS Lab is run by Silke Göbel, Beth Jefferies and Tony Morland who are based in the Department of Psychology. Current research projects investigate the Neural Bases of Number Processing, Calculation, Semantic Memory, Language and Verbal Short-term Memory and fucntional processing within human visual cortex.

Participant Information

TMS is a well-established technique that is used safely in many laboratories world-wide. TMS allows causal inferences to be made, via its ability to induce localised disruption to specific cortical areas and thus create ‘virtual lesions’. TMS therefore, provides a means by which to study causal relationships between brain-behaviour in the healthy individual.

Before taking part, you will be asked to fill out some questionnaires. These will ask you about your medical history and recent alcohol, caffeine and drug use. This information will be kept completely confidential.

During the TMS session, magnetic pulses will be applied over your scalp. This will occur either before you perform some simple cognitive tasks, or whilst you are performing them. A typical task might involve pressing buttons in response to stimuli displayed on a computer screen.

If you are interested in participating in TMS studies, please have a look at the main YNiC participants page.

Equipment

TMS Lab

People

Research Areas

Numerical Cognition

Contact: Silke Göbel

  • Spatial Reference Frames in Number Processing
  • Numerosity Habituation

Research projects on Number Processing investigate the role of parietal regions in various basic numerical tasks. In a symbolic number comparison task we ask whether the contribution of posterior parietal cortices depends on spatial reference frames and/or response mappings. In a second project we establish in which way sensitivity to non-symbolic numerosity changes with parietal TMS.

Semantic Cognition

Contact: Beth Jefferies

  • The neural basis of semantic cognition
  • TMS studies of verbal working memory

Research projects on the cognitive and neural organisation of Semantic Memory and Language use a number of methodologies including neuropsychological investigations of patients with brain damage, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and neuroimaging. These TMS studies (in collaboration with Gorana Pobric and Matt Lambon Ralph at the University of Manchester) are inspired by studies of patients with impairments of semantic memory. For example, we are investigating if 'virtual lesions' of the anterior temporal lobes give rise to the same pattern of multimodal semantic deficits seen in semantic dementia.

Visual Processing

Contact: Tony Morland

  • Noninvasive dissection of visual cortex using fMRI and TMS

The human brain contains multiple maps of the visual field, which can be reliably identified using fMRI. Although fMRI provides excellent localisation of visual areas, it is less well suited to providing causal links between activation within particular visual areas and particular aspects of visual perception. These kinds of causal links can be made, however, when fMRI is combined with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a noninvasive technique that can bring about localized, transient disruption of cortical function and can induce functional impairments in the performance of specific tasks. When guided by the detailed localizing and mapping capabilities of fMRI, TMS can be used as a means by which the functional roles of different visual areas can be investigated.

Recent Publications

Specialized and independent processing of orientation and shape in visual field maps LO1 and LO2 Edward H Silson, Declan J McKeefry, Jessica Rodgers, Andre D Gouws, Mark Hymers & Antony B Morland (2013). Nature Neuroscience. doi:10.1038/nn.3327

Executive-semantic processing is underpinned by a large-scale neural network: Revealing the contribution of left prefrontal, posterior temporal and parietal cortex to controlled retrieval and selection using TMS. Whitney, C., Kirk, K., O'Sullivan, J., Lambon Ralph, M. A., Jefferies, E. (2012). Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24, 133-147. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_0012