Improved electron energy confinement in tokamak plasmas, related to internal transport barriers, has been linked to nonmonotonic current density profiles. This is difficult to prove experimentally since usually the current profiles evolve continuously and current injection generally requires significant input power. New experiments are presented, in which the inductive current is used to generate positive and negative current density perturbations in the plasma center, with negligible input power. These results demonstrate unambiguously for the first time that the electron confinement can be modified significantly solely by perturbing the current density profile.