Working memory refers to the temporary maintenance and processing of information and involves executive processes that manipulate the contents of the working memory. The role of the executive function in the human left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (LDLPFC) was explored using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) after confirming the LDLPFC activation using fMRI. We applied double-pulse TMS having a 100-ms inter-pulse interval to LDLPFC immediately after the subjects finished reading the sentences of the reading span test (RST) task, an efficient measure of verbal working memory, in which dual tasks that include both sentence comprehension and word maintenance are required. Using eight normal participants, we found a significant deterioration of performance, i.e., decreased number of correctly reported words, in RST due to TMS stimulation of LDLPFC. Evidence suggests that transient functional disruption of the LDLPFC impairs performance in the maintenance processing of the RST task.
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