TMS modulation of visual and auditory processing in the posterior parietal cortex

Nadia Bolognini, Carlo Miniussi, Silvia Savazzi, Emanuela Bricolo, Angelo Maravita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Audio-visual stimuli typically yield faster responses than isolated modality-specific ones. This crossmodal speed advantage depends upon efficient multisensory integration mechanisms in the brain. Here, we used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to address the role of the posterior parietal cortex, in particular of the inferior parietal lobule (IPL), in speeding up responses to crossmodal stimuli. The results show that rTMS over IPL impairs the response to contralateral modality-specific visual and auditory targets without affecting the response speed advantage following audio-visual targets. Furthermore, this speed advantage is subserved by a neural coactivation mechanism suggesting a summation in a given neural site. Control rTMS over V1 impaired only contralateral visual responses without affecting the response to auditory or audio-visual targets. These results suggest that the response speed advantage for crossmodal targets is maintained in spite of the IPL interference that impairs modality-specific responses. The possible role of alternative sites for the audio-visual advantage, such as the superior colliculus, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-517
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Auditory
  • Multisensory
  • Parietal cortex
  • RTMS
  • Superior colliculus
  • Visual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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