Inhibitory stimulation of the ventral premotor cortex temporarily interferes with musical beat rate preference

Katja Kornysheva, Anne-Marike von Anshelm-Schiffer, Ricarda I Schubotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral studies suggest that preference for a beat rate (tempo) in auditory sequences is tightly linked to the motor system. However, from a neuroscientific perspective the contribution of motor-related brain regions to tempo preference in the auditory domain remains unclear. A recent fMRI study (Kornysheva et al. [2010]: Hum Brain Mapp 31:48-64) revealed that the activity increase in the left ventral premotor cortex (PMv) is associated with the preference for a tempo of a musical rhythm. The activity increase correlated with how strongly the subjects preferred a tempo. Despite this evidence, it remains uncertain whether an interference with activity in the left PMv affects tempo preference strength. Consequently, we conducted an offline repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) study, in which the cortical excitability in the left PMv was temporarily reduced. As hypothesized, 0.9 Hz rTMS over the left PMv temporarily affected individual tempo preference strength depending on the individual strength of tempo preference in the control session. Moreover, PMv stimulation temporarily interfered with the stability of individual tempo preference strength within and across sessions. These effects were specific to the preference for tempo in contrast to the preference for timbre, bound to the first half of the experiment following PMv stimulation and could not be explained by an impairment of tempo recognition. Our results corroborate preceding fMRI findings and suggest that activity in the left PMv is part of a network that affects the strength of beat rate preference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1300-10
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception/physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor/physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe/physiology
  • Functional Laterality/physiology
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex/physiology
  • Music
  • Nerve Net/physiology
  • Neural Inhibition/physiology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation


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