The use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in cognitive neuroscience: A new synthesis of methodological issues

Marco Sandrini, Carlo Umiltà, Elena Rusconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has become a mainstay of cognitive neuroscience, thus facing new challenges due to its widespread application on behaviorally silent areas. In this review we will summarize the main technical and methodological considerations that are necessary when using TMS in cognitive neuroscience, based on a corpus of studies and technical improvements that has become available in most recent years. Although TMS has been applied only relatively recently on a large scale to the study of higher functions, a range of protocols that elucidate how this technique can be used to investigate a variety of issues is already available, such as single pulse, paired pulse, dual-site, repetitive and theta burst TMS. Finally, we will touch on recent promising approaches that provide powerful new insights about causal interactions among brain regions (i.e., TMS with other neuroimaging techniques) and will enable researchers to enhance the functional resolution of TMS (i.e., state-dependent TMS). We will end by briefly summarizing and discussing the implications of the newest safety guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-36
Number of pages21
JournalNeuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Biophysics
  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Humans
  • Neurosciences
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

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