In this essay, I will be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the method TMS and how it has been applied in neuroscientific research. I will use an empirical example of where TMS has been used to test the left BA37 in object recognition. In conclusion, the method of TMS is a good method to use for neuroscientific research as it leaves no long lasting side effects. However, TMS would be more effective used alongside fMRI as the spatial resolution of TMS is not very accurate.
This method is used to show whether a given area within the brain is necessary for a particular type of processing.
The way TMS works is using a metal coil, with an electric current going through, which is placed over the area of the brain that you are trying to see whether its involved in that particular part of processing. This electric coil then creates an electric (magnetic) field which produces a transient and reversible “virtual lesion” in the brain. If this area is involved in the particular type of processing that you are testing, then you will get a delay in response from the subject as a result of the electrical field interfering with that particular part of the brains neuronal activity. TMS has developed from the discovery of electromagnetic induction by Faraday in 1832 to the use of TMS being used to discover findings in various parts of the brain in the last century. For example: (George et al., 1996) found TMS related improvements in mood and concordant changes in blood flow of the prefrontal cortex brain region. (Walsh & Cowey, 2000. Nature reviews neuroscience 1: 73-79)
The use of the method TMS has both advantages and disadvantages within neuroscience. One advantage of using TMS is that it’s a lot cheaper than the other methods: EEG (electroencephalography) and fMRI. As a result, it can be widely used throughout the research, and it allows larger samples to be tested, compared with when the other methods of testing are being us...