Abstract and Keywords
This article describes the ways in which transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be a means of studying consciousness by interfering with the physical occurrences of the brain. The focus of this article is aspects of consciousness, i.e. being aware or unaware, and their cerebral basis. TMS has been used to demonstrate regional cortical functional specialization. The reasons for the effects caused by TMS are still not fully known. Further work must be done in order to address this problem. TMS can briefly impose (or disrupt) rhythmic discharge in the underlying cortex and some of these rhythms are thought to be important for selective attention and awareness. TMS can disrupt activity in underlying brain tissue with millisecond precision but thus far it is usually used in isolation. When combined with event-related potentials and functional magnetic resonance imaging its usefulness will expand.
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