Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – TMS



TMS is based on the principle of electromagnetic induction. A magnetic field is applied over the head of a subjects by means of a coil placed above a cortical target of interest. The magnetic field passes through the skull and reaches the cortical brain tissue where induces an electric field, which interferes transiently with the cortical activity. TMS can be used in many different paradigms to study neural correlates of cognitive functions and brain plasticity with experimental or clinical applications. It can be applied in single-pulse modality to interfere with a target area during a cognitive task. Otherwise, multiple stimuli can be delivered in repetitive TMS (rTMS) protocols, which can modulate the cortical excitability with lasting inhibitory or excitatory effects depending on the frequency of stimulation.


The group has a long tradition of studies with TMS both with single-pulse and rTMS paradigms investigating different aspects of language functions, emotion processing, visual and motor systems.

Data from TMS experiments are considered in a multi-methods approach to complement studies with other non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, neuropsychological and neurosurgery evidence. New questions raise step by step and TMS is an increasing used tool to explore progressively more complex aspects of brain networks unveiling the neural mechanisms of human cognition and behaviour.




A case for the involvement of phonological loop in sentence comprehension.

Romero Lauro, L. J., Reis, J., Cohen, L. G., Cecchetto, C., & Papagno, C. Neuropsychologia (2010).


Idiom comprehension: a prefrontal task?.

Romero Lauro, L. J., Tettamanti, M., Cappa, S. F., & Papagno, C.  Cerebral Cortex(2008).


Transcranial magnetic stimulation of medial prefrontal cortex modulates implicit attitudes towards food.

Mattavelli, G., Zuglian, P., Dabroi, E., Gaslini, G., Clerici, M., & Papagno, C.   Appetite (2015).


Transcranial magnetic stimulation of medial prefrontal cortex modulates face expressions processing in a priming task.

Mattavelli, G., Cattaneo, Z., & Papagno, C.  Neuropsychologia (2011).


Fair play doesn’t matter: MEP modulation as a neurophysiological signature of status quo bias in economic interactions.

Pisoni, A., Gerfo, E. L., Ottone, S., Ponzano, F., Zarri, L., Vergallito, A., & Lauro, L. J. R.  NeuroImage (2014)..