Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation modulates action naming over the left but not right inferior frontal gyrus
fMRI language mapping studies report right-hemispheric contribution to language in healthy individuals. However, it remains unclear whether these right-hemispheric patterns of activity are critical for language, which is highly relevant for clinical preoperative language mapping. The available findings are controversial. In this study, we first measured individual patterns of language lateralization with an fMRI language localizer in healthy participants with different handedness (N = 31). Then, the same participants received rTMS over the individual coordinates of peak fMRI-based activation in the left and right inferior frontal gyri. During rTMS, participants performed a picture naming task. It included both objects and actions to test whether naming of nouns and verbs would be equally modulated by rTMS. Stimulation of the left inferior frontal gyrus resulted in accuracy facilitation of verb production regardless of individual language lateralization. No modulation of object naming was found at any stimulation site in terms of accuracy nor reaction time. This study causally confirmed the critical contribution of the left, but not the right hemisphere to verb production regardless of the language lateralization patterns observed with fMRI. Also, the results stress that action rather than object naming is the task of choice for mapping language in the frontal lobe. © 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.