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Cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation over posterior parietal cortex enhances distinct aspects of visual working memory

Heinen, K; Sagliano, L; Candini, M; Husain, M; Cappelletti, M; Zokaei, N; (2016) Cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation over posterior parietal cortex enhances distinct aspects of visual working memory. Neuropsychologia , 87 pp. 35-42. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.04.028. Green open access

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Abstract

In this study, we investigated the effects of tDCS over the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) during a visual working memory (WM) task, which probes different sources of response error underlying the precision of WM recall. In two separate experiments, we demonstrated that tDCS enhanced WM precision when applied bilaterally over the PPC, independent of electrode configuration. In a third experiment, we demonstrated with unilateral electrode configuration over the right PPC, that only cathodal tDCS enhanced WM precision and only when baseline performance was low. Looking at the effects on underlying sources of error, we found that cathodal stimulation enhanced the probability of correct target response across all participants by reducing feature-misbinding. Only for low-baseline performers, cathodal stimulation also reduced variability of recall. We conclude that cathodal- but not anodal tDCS can improve WM precision by preventing feature-misbinding and hereby enhancing attentional selection. For low-baseline performers, cathodal tDCS also protects the memory trace. Furthermore, stimulation over bilateral PPC is more potent than unilateral cathodal tDCS in enhancing general WM precision.

Type: Article
Title: Cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation over posterior parietal cortex enhances distinct aspects of visual working memory
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.04.028
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016....
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Authors This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Behavioral Sciences, Neurosciences, Psychology, Experimental, Neurosciences & Neurology, Psychology, Transcranial direct current stimulation, Parietal cortex, Polarity, Visual working memory, Precision, Error source, SHORT-TERM-MEMORY, HUMAN MOTOR CORTEX, ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE, INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES, EVOKED POTENTIALS, PREFRONTAL CORTEX, TDCS, EXCITABILITY, MODULATION, BRAIN
UCL classification: UCL
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1490245
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