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Transcranial direct current stimulation of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex does not affect model-based or model-free reinforcement learning in humans.

Smittenaar, P; Prichard, G; Fitzgerald, TH; Diedrichsen, J; Dolan, RJ; (2014) Transcranial direct current stimulation of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex does not affect model-based or model-free reinforcement learning in humans. PLoS One , 9 (1) , Article e86850. 10.1371/journal.pone.0086850. Green open access

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Abstract

There is broad consensus that the prefrontal cortex supports goal-directed, model-based decision-making. Consistent with this, we have recently shown that model-based control can be impaired through transcranial magnetic stimulation of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in humans. We hypothesized that an enhancement of model-based control might be achieved by anodal transcranial direct current stimulation of the same region. We tested 22 healthy adult human participants in a within-subject, double-blind design in which participants were given Active or Sham stimulation over two sessions. We show Active stimulation had no effect on model-based control or on model-free ('habitual') control compared to Sham stimulation. These null effects are substantiated by a power analysis, which suggests that our study had at least 60% power to detect a true effect, and by a Bayesian model comparison, which favors a model of the data that assumes stimulation had no effect over models that assume stimulation had an effect on behavioral control. Although we cannot entirely exclude more trivial explanations for our null effect, for example related to (faults in) our experimental setup, these data suggest that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex does not improve model-based control, despite existing evidence that transcranial magnetic stimulation can disrupt such control in the same brain region.

Type: Article
Title: Transcranial direct current stimulation of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex does not affect model-based or model-free reinforcement learning in humans.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086850
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0086850
Language: English
Additional information: �© 2014 Smittenaar et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. PMCID: PMC3901733
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1422040
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