The role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in implicit procedural learning

Alvaro Pascual-Leone*, Eric M. Wassermann, Jordan Grafman, Mark Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations


We studied the role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in procedural learning. Normal subjects completed several blocks of a serial reaction time task using only one hand without or with concurrent non-invasive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. To disrupt their function transiently, stimulation was applied at low intensity over the supplementary motor area or over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex contralateral or ipsilateral to the hand used for the test. Stimulation to the contralateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex markedly impaired procedural implicit learning, as documented by the lack of significant change in response times during the task. Stimulation over the other areas did not interfere with learning. These results support the notion of a critical role of contralateral dorsolateral prefrontal structures in learning of motor sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-485
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Cortical physiology
  • Human
  • Learning and memory
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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