Excitability of Motor Cortices as a Function of Emotional Sounds

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We used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to clarify how non-verbal emotionally-characterized sounds modulate the excitability of the corticospinal motor tract (CST). While subjects were listening to sounds (monaurally and binaurally), single TMS pulses were delivered to either left or right primary motor cortex (M1), and electromyographic activities were recorded from the contralateral abductor pollicis brevis muscle. We found a significant increase in CST excitability in response to unpleasant as compared to neutral sounds. The increased excitability was lateralized as a function of stimulus valence: Unpleasant stimuli resulted in a significantly higher facilitation of motor potentials evoked in the left hemisphere, while pleasant stimuli yielded a greater CST excitability in the right one. Furthermore, TMS induced higher motor evoked potentials when listening to unpleasant sounds with the left than with the right ear. Taken together, our findings provide compelling evidence for an asymmetric modulation of CST excitability as a function of emotional sounds along with ear laterality. © 2013 Komeilipoor et al.




Komeilipoor, N., Pizzolato, F., Daffertshofer, A., & Cesari, P. (2013). Excitability of Motor Cortices as a Function of Emotional Sounds. PLoS ONE, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063060

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