2019 May – Jun;12(3):693-701. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2018.12.972. Epub 2018 Dec 23.


When single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is applied over the primary motor cortex (M1) with sufficient intensity, it evokes muscular contractions (motor-evoked potentials, MEPs) and muscle twitches (TMS-evoked movements). Participants may also report various hand sensations related to TMS, but the perception elicited by TMS and its relationship to MEPs and evoked movements has not been systematically studied.


The main aim of this work is to evaluate participants’ kinesthetic and somatosensory hand perceptions elicited by single-pulse TMS over M1-hand area at different intensities of stimulation and their relation with MEPs and TMS-evoked movements.


We compared the number of MEPs (measured by electromyography), TMS-evoked movements (measured by an accelerometer) and participants’ hand perception (measured by verbal report) elicited by TMS at different intensity of stimulation. This way, we estimated the amplitude of MEPs and the acceleration of TMS-evoked movements sufficient to trigger TMS evoked hand perceptions.


We found that TMS-evoked hand perceptions are induced at 105% of the individual resting motor threshold, a value significantly different from the threshold inducing MEPs (about 100%) and TMS-evoked movements (about 110%). Our data indicate that only MEPs with an amplitude higher than 0.62 mV and TMS-evoked movements with acceleration higher than 0.42 m/s2 were associated with hand perceptions at threshold.


Our data reveal the main features of TMS-evoked hand perception and show that in addition to MEPs and TMS-evoked movements, this is a separate discernible response associated to single-pulse TMS over M1.