J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 74:985-987 doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.7.985
  • Short report

The effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation on movement selection

  1. Y H Sohn1,
  2. A Kaelin-Lang2,
  3. M Hallett1
  1. 1Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  2. 2Human Cortical Physiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Hallett, Bldg 10/Rm 5N226, 10 Center Dr, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA;
  • Received 25 October 2002
  • Accepted 4 March 2003
  • Revised 26 February 2003


Objective: To attempt to replicate previous findings that showed an influence of transcranial magnetic stimulation of the cortical motor areas on the selection of motor programmes on the contralateral side.

Methods: Healthy volunteers were asked to choose to make a right or left index finger extension movement freely after hearing the click produced by transcranial magnetic stimulation. The stimulation was applied to the motor areas (test), including the motor cortex, vertex, and prefrontal cortex, and in the air (control).

Results: There was no preference for choosing the hand contralateral to the stimulation site, in either test or control trials.

Conclusions: Previous results could not be reproduced. Simple magnetic stimulation of the motor areas is insufficient to affect voluntary selection of movement.


  • Competing interests: none declared

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