Time in the motor cortex

motor evoked potentials track foreperiod duration without concurrent movement

Jordan J. Wehrman*, Paul Sowman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) allows for the monitoring of motor cortex dynamics in preparation for response. Using this method, it has previously been shown that motor evoked potentials (MEPs) are suppressed as a response approaches. In the current article, we applied TMS while participants either relaxed or contracted their first dorsal interosseous muscle. We varied the time at which TMS was applied, however, unlike previous studies, no participant response was required. Using this method, we provide evidence that MEPs systematically decrease with the duration of the trial, while inhibition is not similarly affected. Further, we found some evidence that MEPs are inversely proportional to the duration of the prior trial. These findings have ramifications for other research interested in the application of TMS, especially when used across multiple possible points in a trial. Further, this finding shows a role for the motor cortex in timing more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-89
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2019


  • transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • response preparation
  • variable foreperiod
  • timing
  • motor evoked potentials
  • cortical silent period
  • inhibition
  • excitation
  • motor cortex

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