Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5959bf8d4d-gl8zf Total loading time: 0.369 Render date: 2022-12-08T04:16:39.813Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Diminished Risk-Aversion After Right DLPFC Stimulation: Effects of rTMS on a Risky Ball Throwing Task

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 December 2018

Jaan Tulviste*
Institute of Psychology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
Talis Bachmann
Department of Penal Law, School of Law, University of Tartu (Tallinn branch), Tallinn, Estonia
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Jaan Tulviste, Institute of Psychology, University of Tartu, Näituse 2, Tartu, Estonia. E-mail:


Objectives: Several studies on human risk taking and risk aversion have reported the involvement of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Yet, current knowledge of the neural mechanisms of risk-related decision making is not conclusive, mainly relying on studies using non-motor tasks. Here we examine how modulation of DLPFC activity by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) affects risk-taking behavior during a motor response task. Methods: One-Hertz rTMS to the right DLPFC was applied to monitor risk-taking and risk-aversion performance during a goal-directed risky task with motor response. Healthy participants were instructed to aim for a high score by throwing a ball as close to the ceiling as possible, while avoiding touching the ceiling with the ball. Results: One-Hertz rTMS stimulation to the right DLPFC significantly increased the frequency of ceiling hits, compared to Sham-stimulation. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the right DLPFC is a valid target for manipulating risky behavior in tasks with a motor-response. Following rTMS stimulation participants' preference shifts toward immediate awards, while becoming significantly less sensitive to potential negative consequences. The results confirm that the right DLPFC is involved in impulse control in goal-directed executive tasks. (JINS, 2019, 25, 72–78)

Regular Research
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Beam, W., Borckardt, J.J., Reeves, S.T., & George, M.S. (2009). An efficient and accurate new method for locating the F3 position for prefrontal TMS applications. Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translational, and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation, 2(1), 5054.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bechara, A., Damasio, A.R., Damasio, H., & Anderson, S.W. (1994). Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to human prefrontal cortex. Cognition, 50(1–3), 715.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Boschin, E.A., Mars, R.B., & Buckley, M.J. (2017). Transcranial magnetic stimulation to dorsolateral prefrontal cortex affects conflict-induced behavioral adaptation in a Wisconsin Card Sorting Test analogue. Neuropsychologia, 94, 3643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Briggs, G.G., & Nebes, R.D. (1975). Patterns of hand preference in a student population. Cortex, 11(3), 230238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Camus, M., Halelamien, N., Plassmann, H., Shimojo, S., O’Doherty, J., Camerer, C., & Rangel, A. (2009). Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex decreases valuations during food choices. European Journal of Neuroscience, 30(10), 19801988.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Carver, C.S., & White, T.L. (1994). Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment: The BIS/BAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(2), 319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chen, R., Classen, J., Gerloff, C., Celnik, P., Wassermann, E.M., Hallett, M., & Cohen, L.G. (1997). Depression of motor cortex excitability by low-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation. Neurology, 48, 13981403.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cheng, G.L., & Lee, T.M. (2016). Altering risky decision-making: Influence of impulsivity on the neuromodulation of prefrontal cortex. Social Neuroscience, 11(4), 353364.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Curtis, C.E., & D’Esposito, M. (2003). Persistent activity in the prefrontal cortex during working memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(9), 415423.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Duecker, F., & Sack, A.T. (2015). Rethinking the role of sham TMS. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 210.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fellows, L.K., & Farah, M.J. (2003). Ventromedial frontal cortex mediates affective shifting in humans: Evidence from a reversal learning paradigm. Brain, 126(8), 18301837.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fitzgerald, P.B., Fountain, S., & Daskalakis, Z.J. (2006). A comprehensive review of the effects of rTMS on motor cortical excitability and inhibition. Clinical Neurophysiology, 117(12), 25842596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fuster, J.M. (1991). The prefrontal cortex and its relation to behavior. Progress in Brain Research, 87, 201211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fuster, J.M. (1997). The prefrontal cortex-anatomy physiology, and neuropsychology of the frontal lobe. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven.Google Scholar
Gable, P.A., Neal, L.B., & Threadgill, A.H. (2018). Regulatory behavior and frontal activity: Considering the role of revised‐BIS in relative right frontal asymmetry. Psychophysiology, 55(1). doi:1111/psyp.12910 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gorini, A., Lucchiari, C., Russell-Edu, W., & Pravettoni, G. (2014). Modulation of risky choices in recently abstinent dependent cocaine users: A transcranial direct-current stimulation study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 661. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00661 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Harro, J., & Oreland, L. (2016). The role of MAO in personality and drug use. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 69, 101111.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hutcherson, C.A., Plassmann, H., Gross, J.J., & Rangel, A. (2012). Cognitive regulation during decision making shifts behavioral control between ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal value systems. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(39), 1354313554.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Knoch, D., Gianotti, L.R., Pascual-Leone, A., Treyer, V., Regard, M., Hohmann, M., & Brugger, P. (2006). Disruption of right prefrontal cortex by low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation induces risk-taking behavior. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(24), 64696472.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lisanby, S.H., Gutman, D., Luber, B., Schroeder, C., & Sackeim, H.A. (2001). Sham TMS: Intracerebral measurement of the induced electrical field and the induction of motor-evoked potentials. Biological Psychiatry, 49(5), 460463.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Liu, P., & Feng, T. (2017). The overlapping brain region accounting for the relationship between procrastination and impulsivity: A voxel-based morphometry study. Neuroscience, 360, 917.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Manes, F., Sahakian, B., Clark, L., Rogers, R., Antoun, N., Aitken, M., & Robbins, T. (2002). Decision‐making processes following damage to the prefrontal cortex. Brain, 125(3), 624639.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Miller, E.K., & Cohen, J.D. (2001). An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24(1), 167202.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Otsa, M., Paaver, M., Harro, J., & Bachmann, T. (2016). A biomarker of risk-prone behavioral phenotype correlates with winning in a game of skill. Journal of Psychophysiology, 30, 155164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pascual-Leone, A., & Hallett, M. (1994). Induction of errors in a delayed response task by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Neuroreport, 5(18), 2517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pochon, J.B., Levy, R., Poline, J.B., Crozier, S., Lehéricy, S., Pillon, B., … Dubois, B. (2001). The role of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the preparation of forthcoming actions: An fMRI study. Cerebral Cortex, 11(3), 260266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pripfl, J., Neumann, R., Köhler, U., & Lamm, C. (2013). Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on risky decision making are mediated by ‘hot’and ‘cold’decisions, personality, and hemisphere. European Journal of Neuroscience, 38(12), 37783785.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rao, H., Korczykowski, M., Pluta, J., Hoang, A., & Detre, J.A. (2008). Neural correlates of voluntary and involuntary risk taking in the human brain: An fMRI Study of the Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART). NeuroImage, 42(2), 902910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reckless, G.E., Bolstad, I., Nakstad, P.H., Andreassen, O.A., & Jensen, J. (2013). Motivation alters response bias and neural activation patterns in a perceptual decision-making task. Neuroscience, 238, 135147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Romero, J.R., Anschel, D., Sparing, R., Gangitano, M., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2002). Subthreshold low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation selectively decreases facilitation in the motor cortex. Clinical Neurophysiology, 113(1), 101107.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ruff, C.C., Driver, J., & Bestmann, S. (2009). Combining TMS and fMRI: From ‘virtual lesions’ to functional-network accounts of cognition. Cortex, 45(9), 10431049.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sela, T., Kilim, A., & Lavidor, M. (2012). Transcranial alternating current stimulation increases risk-taking behavior in the balloon analog risk task. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 6, 22. doi:10.3389/fnins.2012.00022 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Silvanto, J., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2008). State-dependency of transcranial magnetic stimulation. Brain Topography, 21(1), 1.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Stuss, D.T., & Alexander, M.P. (2007). Is there a dysexecutive syndrome?. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362(1481), 901915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stuss, D.T. (2011). Functions of the frontal lobes: Relation to executive functions. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 17(5), 759765.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tulviste, J., Goldberg, E., Podell, K., & Bachmann, T. (2016). Effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on non-veridical decision making. Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, 76(3), 182191.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wassermann, E.M. (1998). Risk and safety of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation: Report and suggested guidelines from the International Workshop on the Safety of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, June 5–7, 1996. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology/Evoked Potentials Section, 108(1), 116.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wassermann, E.M., & Lisanby, S.H. (2001). Therapeutic application of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation: A review. Clinical Neurophysiology, 112(8), 13671377.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Diminished Risk-Aversion After Right DLPFC Stimulation: Effects of rTMS on a Risky Ball Throwing Task
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Diminished Risk-Aversion After Right DLPFC Stimulation: Effects of rTMS on a Risky Ball Throwing Task
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Diminished Risk-Aversion After Right DLPFC Stimulation: Effects of rTMS on a Risky Ball Throwing Task
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *