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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2008, Article ID 143238, 7 pages
Research Article

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Affects Performance of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task during Provision of Feedback

1Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montréal, PQ, Canada H3A 2B4
2PET Imaging Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 1R8
3Functional Neuroimaging Unit, Geriatric’s Institute, University of Montréal, Montréal, PQ, Canada H3W 1W5
4Toronto Western Research Institute and Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 2S8

Received 20 October 2007; Accepted 22 December 2007

Academic Editor: Julien Doyon

Copyright © 2008 Ji Hyun Ko et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Early functional neuroimaging studies of tasks evaluating executive processes, such as the Wisconsin card sorting task (WCST), only assessed trials in blocks that may contain a large amount of different cognitive processes. More recently, we showed using event-related fMRI that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DL-PFC) significantly increased activity during feedback but not matching periods of the WCST, consistent with its proposed role in the monitoring of information in working memory. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a method that allows to disrupt processing within a given cortical region and to affect task performance for which this region is significantly solicited. Here we applied rTMS to test the hypothesis that the DL-PFC stimulation influences monitoring of working memory without interfering with other executive functions. We applied rTMS to the right DL-PFC and the vertex (control site) in different time points of the WCST. When rTMS was applied to the DL-PFC specifically during the period when subjects were receiving feedback regarding their previous response, WCST performance deteriorated, while rTMS did not affect performance during matching either when maintaining set or during set-shifting. This selective impairment of the DL-PFC is consistent with its proposed role in monitoring of events in working memory.