TMS-EEG reveals hemispheric asymmetries in top-down influences of posterior intraparietal cortex on behavior and visual event-related potentials
Clinical data and behavioral studies using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) suggest right-hemisphere dominance for top-down modulation of visual processing in humans. We used concurrent TMS-EEG to directly test for hemispheric differences in causal influences of the right and left intraparietal cortex on visual event-related potentials (ERPs). We stimulated the left and right posterior part of intraparietal sulcus (IPS1) while the participants were viewing and rating the visibility of bilaterally presented Gabor patches. Subjective visibility ratings showed that TMS of right IPS shifted the visibility toward the right hemifield, while TMS of left IPS did not have any behavioral effect. TMS of right IPS, but not left one, reduced the amplitude of posterior N1 potential, 180–220 ms after stimulus-onset. The attenuation of N1 occurred bilaterally over the posterior areas of both hemispheres. Consistent with previous TMS-fMRI studies, this finding suggests that the right IPS has top-down control on the neural processing in visual cortex. As N1 most probably reflects reactivation of early visual areas, the current findings support the view that the posterior parietal cortex in the right hemisphere amplifies recurrent interactions in ventral visual areas during the time-window that is critical for conscious perception.