Interference with episodic memory retrieval following transcranial stimulation of the inferior but not the superior parietal lobule

Carlo Sestieri, Paolo Capotosto, Annalisa Tosoni, Gian Luca Romani, Maurizio Corbetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Although posterior parietal cortex (PPC) has been traditionally associated with spatial attention and sensorimotor functions, recent neuroimaging evidence has suggested the involvement of regions of left PCC (LPPC) in memory retrieval. Yet, the role of the parietal lobe in memory-related functions is still controversial. Here we investigated the causal involvement of different LPPC regions in episodic memory retrieval using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) during a task that provided both objective and subjective measures of item recognition and source memory. Stimulation sites were identified on the basis of a recent fMRI study showing the involvement of regions of the default mode network (DMN), such as the angular gyrus (AG) in the inferior parietal lobule (IPL), during search for relevant information in episodic memory, and regions of the dorsal attention network (DAN), such as the superior parietal lobule (SPL), during perceptual search. We predicted a selective disruption of memory performance following rTMS stimulation of the left AG relative to a sham condition or stimulation of the left SPL. We found a modest but significant decrease of sensitivity for item recognition when AG was directly compared to SPL, but not to sham stimulation. A stronger effect was however observed for the criterion of source memory judgments when comparing AG with both SPL and sham stimulation, suggesting that the rTMS over AG affects subjective aspects of source monitoring associated with the weighing of relevant retrieved information for source attribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-906
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


  • Episodic memory
  • Left parietal lobe
  • Long-term memory
  • Repetitive TMS
  • Retrieval


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