Transient disruption of M1 during response planning impairs subsequent offline consolidation

Nichola Rice Cohen, Emily S. Cross, Nicholas F. Wymbs, Scott T. Grafton

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to probe the involvement of the left primary motor cortex (M1) in the consolidation of a sequencing skill. In particular we asked: (1) if M1 is involved in consolidation of planning processes prior to response execution (2) whether movement preparation and movement execution can undergo consolidation independently and (3) whether sequence consolidation can occur in a stimulus specific manner. TMS was applied to left M1 while subjects prepared left hand sequential finger responses for three different movement sequences, presented in an interleaved fashion. Subjects also trained on three control sequences, where no TMS was applied. Disruption of subsequent consolidation was observed, but only for sequences where subjects had been exposed to TMS during training. Further, reduced consolidation was only observed for movement preparation, not movement execution. We conclude that left M1 is causally involved in the consolidation of effective response planning for left hand movements prior to response execution, and mediates consolidation in a sequence specific manner. These results provide important new insights into the role of M1 in sequential memory consolidation and sequence response planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2009. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • contextual interference
  • primary motor cortex
  • sequence learning
  • offline learning
  • procedural memory


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