Continuous theta burst stimulation of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex induces changes in impulsivity level

Sang Soo Cho, Ji Hyun Ko, Giovanna Pellecchia, Thilo Van Eimeren, Roberto Cilia, Antonio P. Strafella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is evidence that the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) may play a certain role in decision making related to reward value and time perception and, in particular, in the inhibitory control of impulsive decision making. Using the theta burst stimulation (TBS) and a delay discounting (DD) task, we investigated the potential role of right DLPFC in impulsive decision making defined by the rate of discounting delayed reward. Healthy right-handed volunteers underwent three stimulation sessions, intermittent TBS (iTBS), continuous TBS (cTBS), and sham. The steepness of the discount function (k-value), reaction time for choice and consistency were measured for each subjects. cTBS of the DLPFC reduced by 36.88 % the k-value of the DD task compared to sham condition. In contrast, iTBS did not affect impulsivity level. There were no changes neither in reaction time for choice nor consistency after either the iTBS or cTBS compared with the sham stimulation. These results demonstrate that cTBS-induced modulation of cortical excitability of the right DLPFC may affect and reduce impulsive decision making. These observations may provide some insights into the role of the right DLPFC in modulating impulsivity level and calculating reward value at different time scales under less ambiguous circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-176
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • decision making
  • delay discounting task
  • dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • impulsivity
  • rTMS
  • theta burst stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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