Cortical distribution of speech and language errors investigated by visual object naming and navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation

Sandro M. Krieg, Nico Sollmann, Noriko Tanigawa, Annette Foerschler, Bernhard Meyer, Florian Ringel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) gains increasing importance in presurgical language mapping. Although bipolar direct cortical stimulation (DCS) is regarded as the gold standard for intraoperative mapping of language-related areas, it cannot be used to map the healthy human brain due to its invasive character. Therefore, the present study employed a non-invasive virtual-lesion modality to provide a causality-confirmed cortical language map of the healthy human brain by repetitive nTMS (rTMS) with functional specifications beyond language-positive/language-negative distinction. Fifty right-handed healthy volunteers underwent rTMS language mapping of the left hemisphere combined with an object-naming task. The induced errors were categorized and frequency maps were calculated. Moreover, a principal component analysis (PCA) was performed on the basis of language-positive cortical regions for each error category. The left hemisphere was stimulated at 258–789 sites (median: 361.5 sites), and 12–241 naming errors (median: 72.5 errors) were observed. In male subjects, a total number of 2091 language errors were elicited by 9579 stimulation trains, which is equal to an error rate of 21.8 %. Within females, 10,238 stimulation trains elicited 2032 language errors (19.8 %). PCA revealed that the inferior parietal lobe (IPL) and middle frontal gyrus (MFG) were causally involved in object naming as a semantic center and an executive control center. For the first time, this study provides causality-based data and a model that approximates the distribution of language-related cortical areas grouped for different functional aspects of single-word production processes by PCA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2259-2286
Number of pages28
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical mapping
  • Language
  • Navigated brain stimulation
  • Object naming
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation


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