Theta-burst stimulation causally affects side perception in the Deutsch’s octave illusion

Paolo Capotosto*, Stefania della Penna, Vittorio Pizzella, Filippo Zappasodi, Gian Luca Romani, Risto J. Ilmoniemi, Alfredo Brancucci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Deutsch’s octave illusion is produced by a sequence of two specular dichotic stimuli presented in alternation to the left and right ear causing an illusory segregation of pitch (frequency) and side (ear of origin). Previous studies have indicated that illusory perception of pitch takes place in temporo-frontal areas, whereas illusory perception of side is primarily associated to neural activity in parietal cortex and in particular in the inferior parietal lobule (IPL). Here we investigated the causal role of left IPL in the perception of side (ear of origin) during the octave illusion by following its inhibition through continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS), as compared to the left posterior intraparietal sulcus (pIPS), whose activity is thought to be unrelated to side perception during the illusion. We observed a prolonged modification in the side of the illusory perceived tone during the first 10 minutes following the stimulation. Specifically, while after cTBS over the left IPS subjects reported to perceive the last tone more often at the right compared to the left ear, cTBS over left IPL significantly reverted this distribution, as the number of last perceived tones at the right ear was smaller than at the left ear. Such alteration was not maintained in the successive 10 minutes. These results provide the first evidence of the causal involvement of the left IPL in the perception of side during the octave illusion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12844
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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