Automatic action tendencies occur at behavioral and neurophysiological levels during task performance with the dominant right hand, with shorter reaction times (RTs) and higher excitability of the contralateral primary motor cortex (M1) during automatic vs. regulated behavior. However, effects associated with the non-dominant left-hand in approaching–avoiding behavior remain unclear. Here, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation during the performance by 18 participants of an approaching–avoiding task using the non-dominant left hand. Single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied over left or right M1 at 150 and 300 ms after the onset of an emotional stimulus. RTs and motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded. Significant automatic action tendencies were observed at the behavioral level. Higher MEP amplitudes were detected 150 ms after stimulus onset from the right hand (non-task hand, corresponding to left M1) during regulated behavior compared with during automatic behavior. However, no significant modulation was found for MEP amplitudes from the left hand (task hand, corresponding to right M1). These findings suggested that left M1 may play a principal role in the early phase of mediating left-handed movement toward an emotional stimulus.
- automatic action tendency
- left-handed movement
- manikin task
- primary motor cortex
- transcranial magnetic stimulation