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Interhemispheric stimulation promotes reading: two brains are better then one (INSPIRE)
Start date: 01 Oct 2008, End date: 30 Sep 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The ultimate goal of INSPIRE is to develop Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)-based and training protocols that will improve semantic skills and creative thinking of healthy and impaired individuals by manipulating the balance between the hemispheres while they process language. Although ambitious and revolutionary, this goal is fundamental to conceptions of language processing and functional lateralization in the human brain. Specific objectives are: (1) To investigate how do semantic processes interact with creative thinking, particularly in the right hemisphere (RH). (2) To generate (reversible and temporary) localized functional impairment in healthy participants in order to specify the cortical areas involved in normal semantic processing. In particular, inhibitory TMS protocols will be used to investigate the role of the RH in processing remote associations, metaphors, sarcasm and subordinate meanings of ambiguous words. Complementary TMS-induced impairments are predicted for left hemisphere (LH) stimulation in language areas. (3) To improve RH semantic abilities and creative thinking by targeting excitatory TMS protocols at the regions of interest, and by enhancing the functioning of the homologue un-stimulated cortex with inhibitory protocols via disinhibition. (4) To improve RH semantic abilities and creative thinking by 'left' and 'right' hemisphere training. (5) To apply the research findings of objectives 1-4 above to aphasia, schizophrenia and RH brain damaged patients in order to improve their semantic skills. Prof. Lavidor is now moving back to Israel with her family after a long stay in the UK. The ERC support is requested for the re-establishment of an active and successful TMS lab in Israel, similar to the one Lavidor set up in the UK. The INSPIRE project, if funded, will allow her to build a new generation of inspired research students in her new lab, trained for excellence by Lavidor, who won the 2006 Marie Curie Excellence Award
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