THETA-rhythm makes the world go round:dissociative effects of TMS theta versus alpha entrainment of right pTPJ on embodied perspective transformations


Being able to imagine another person's experience and perspective of the world is a crucial human ability and recent reports suggest that humans "embody" another's viewpoint by mentally rotating their own body representation into the other's orientation. Our recent Magnetoencephalography (MEG) data further confirmed this notion of embodied perspective transformations and pinpointed the right posterior temporo-parietal junction (pTPJ) as the crucial hub in a distributed network oscillating at theta frequency (3-7 Hz). In a subsequent transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) experiment we interfered with right pTPJ processing and observed a modulation of the embodied aspects of perspective transformations. While these results corroborated the role of right pTPJ, the notion of theta oscillations being the crucial neural code remained a correlational observation based on our MEG data. In the current study we therefore set out to confirm the importance of theta oscillations directly by means of TMS entrainment. We compared entrainment of right pTPJ at 6 Hz vs. 10 Hz and confirmed that only 6 Hz entrainment facilitated embodied perspective transformations (at 160° angular disparity) while 10 Hz slowed it down. The reverse was true at low angular disparity (60° between egocentric and target perspective) where a perspective transformation was not strictly necessary. Our results further corroborate right pTPJ involvement in embodied perspective transformations and highlight theta oscillations as a crucial neural code.

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Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Optometry > Centre for Vision and Hearing Research
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: transcranial magnetic stimulation,rhythmic entrainment,tehta oscillations,temporoparietal junction,perspective takin,embodiment
Publication ISSN: 1573-6792
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 07:13
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2017 15:35
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-09-01
Published Online Date: 2017-03-03
Accepted Date: 2017-02-24
Authors: Gooding-Williams, Gerard
Wang, Hongfang
Kessler, Klaus (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-7307-9539)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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