Adjustments to movement in response to changes in our surroundings are common in everyday behavior. Previous research has suggested that the left pre-motor cortex (PMC) is specialized for the temporal control of movement and may play a role in temporal error correction. The aim of this study was to determine the role of the left PMC in sensorimotor timing and error correction using theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation (TBS). In Experiment 1, subjects performed a sensorimotor synchronization task (SMS) with the left and the right hand before and after either continuous or intermittent TBS (cTBS or iTBS). Timing accuracy was assessed during synchronized finger tapping with a regular auditory pacing stimulus. Responses following perceivable local timing shifts in the pacing stimulus (phase shifts) were used to measure error correction. Suppression of the left PMC using cTBS decreased timing accuracy because subjects tapped further away from the pacing tones and tapping variability increased. In addition, error correction responses returned to baseline tap-tone asynchrony levels faster following negative shifts and no overcorrection occurred following positive shifts after cTBS. However, facilitation of the left PMC using iTBS did not affect timing accuracy or error correction performance. Experiment 2 revealed that error correction performance may change with practice, independent of TBS. These findings provide evidence for a role of the left PMC in both sensorimotor timing and error correction in both hands. We propose that the left PMC may be involved in voluntarily controlled phase correction responses to perceivable timing shifts.
- Error correction
- Pre-motor cortex
- Sensorimotor timing
- Theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation