Cooperative processing in primary somatosensory cortex and posterior parietal cortex during tactile working memory

Yixuan Ku, Di Zhao, Mark Bodner, Yong Di Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, causal roles of both the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) and the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) were investigated in a tactile unimodal working memory (WM) task. Individual magnetic resonance imaging-based single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (spTMS) was applied, respectively, to the left SI (ipsilateral to tactile stimuli), right SI (contralateral to tactile stimuli) and right PPC (contralateral to tactile stimuli), while human participants were performing a tactile-tactile unimodal delayed matching-to-sample task. The time points of spTMS were 300, 600 and 900 ms after the onset of the tactile sample stimulus (duration: 200 ms). Compared with ipsilateral SI, application of spTMS over either contralateral SI or contralateral PPC at those time points significantly impaired the accuracy of task performance. Meanwhile, the deterioration in accuracy did not vary with the stimulating time points. Together, these results indicate that the tactile information is processed cooperatively by SI and PPC in the same hemisphere, starting from the early delay of the tactile unimodal WM task. This pattern of processing of tactile information is different from the pattern in tactile-visual cross-modal WM. In a tactile-visual cross-modal WM task, SI and PPC contribute to the processing sequentially, suggesting a process of sensory information transfer during the early delay between modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1905-1911
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Cooperative processing
  • Posterior parietal cortex
  • Primary somatosensory cortex
  • Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Tactile working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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