Transcranial magnetic stimulation of left prefrontal cortex impairs working memory

Brendan R. Mull, Masud Seyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Objectives: Several lines of evidence suggest that the prefrontal cortex is involved in working memory. Our goal was to determine whether transient functional disruption of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) would impair performance in a sequential-letter working memory task. Methods: Subjects were shown sequences of letters and asked to state whether the letter just displayed was the same as the one presented 3-back. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied over the DLPFC between letter presentations. Results: TMS applied over the left DLPFC resulted in increased errors relative to no TMS controls. TMS over the right DLPFC did not alter working memory performance. Conclusion: Our results indicate that the left prefrontal cortex has a crucial role in at least one type of working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1672-1675
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001


  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Functional disruption
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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