Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Studies of Face Processing

David Pitcher, Vincent Walsh and Bradley Duchaine

in Oxford Handbook of Face Perception

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199559053
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Studies of Face Processing

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Neuropsychological patients exhibiting category-selective visual agnosias provide unique insights into the cognitive functions of the human brain. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), in contrast, can be used to draw causal inferences, as one of the effects of the cortical disruption induced by magnetic stimulation is to act as a “virtual lesion” lasting from tens of milliseconds up to approximately one hour, depending on the type of stimulation. This specificity offers a unique advantage in psychological testing as TMS can be used to test where and when cognitive computations are performed. This article briefly describes TMS, considers the small but growing number of studies that use TMS to disrupt face processing. It discusses how TMS can be used in the future to understand better how faces are cortically represented in the human brain.

Keywords: transcranial magnetic stimulation; face processing; human brain; virtual lesion; cognitive computations

Article.  8833 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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