Effects of Continuous Theta Burst Stimulation Over the Left Dlpfc on Mother Tongue and Second Language Production In Late Bilinguals: A Behavioral and ERP Study

Jost, Lea B.; Pestalozzi, Maria I.; Cazzoli, Dario; Mouthon, Michael; Müri, René M.; Annoni, Jean-Marie (2020). Effects of Continuous Theta Burst Stimulation Over the Left Dlpfc on Mother Tongue and Second Language Production In Late Bilinguals: A Behavioral and ERP Study. Brain topography, 33(4), pp. 504-518. Springer 10.1007/s10548-020-00779-0

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Clinical, neuroimaging, and non-invasive brain stimulation studies have associated the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) with the multilingual language control system. Here, we investigated if this role is increased during the processing of the non-dominant language due to the higher cognitive/attentional demands. We used an inhibitory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocol over the left DLPFC and investigated the behavioral and electrophysiological effects on (i) picture naming in the mother tongue and second language, (ii) forward and backward translation and (iii) non-verbal inhibition. To this end, we compared the effects of inhibitory rTMS (cTBS) vs sham-rTMS using a single-blind within-subject design including 22 late bilinguals. Behaviorally, response times were longer after cTBS compared to sham-rTMS in the picture naming task independent of language, while response times were not affected for the word translation task. These results were mirrored on the electrophysiological level showing an effect of stimulation in the picture naming task starting at 547 ms post-stimulus onset, but not in the translation task. This late time range is likely associated with processes of conflict resolution and initiation of the articulation of the word rather than processes related to lexical selection or language switching. For the non-verbal inhibition task, behavioral outcome was not affected despite electrophysiological stimulation-induced changes. Overall, the results suggest that the DLPFC plays a role in top-down cognitive control in language production, but that this role is not increased with higher cognitive demand such as naming in a second language or in language switching during word translation

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation

UniBE Contributor:

Cazzoli, Dario and Müri, René Martin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








Angela Amira Botros

Date Deposited:

16 Jul 2020 08:30

Last Modified:

31 Jul 2020 04:37

Publisher DOI:


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