The stimulated brain : cognitive enhancement using non-invasive brain stimulation

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If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings. Skip to main content. We proceed to discuss several factors that may contribute to the diversity in observed results.

We also offer recommendations for future studies that may help resolve these inconsistencies and shed more definitive light on the ability to use tES to enhance attention. As effects of tES on other domains also appear less robust than initially thought e. Electrode montage and stimulation intensity, duration, timing, and polarity alone offer a daunting number of degrees of freedom, and all of these parameters can greatly affect the outcome of stimulation. For instance, varying stimulation duration Monte-Silva et al.

Even the order of sham and real tES sessions could potentially affect the outcome: tES may interact with practice-related improvements in task performance, for example, such that tES effects are less pronounced in later sessions. This remains a factor even if session order is counterbalanced between subjects. Mostly, this review highlights a dire need for studies that more systematically explore the parameter space and for a mechanistic understanding of the neurophysiological effects of tES.

To determine promising parameter combinations, direct replications are essential. Preregistration may also facilitate progress in the field, as a recent meta-analysis of tDCS and working memory found some evidence for selective reporting of positive results Mancuso et al. Indeed, several studies underlined that individual differences may shape the outcome of stimulation. Many factors could play a role here, ranging from differences in head and brain anatomy to gender and genetics see Li et al.

The ultimate solution may be to tailor stimulation dosage and placement of electrodes to individual brains, but this requires sophisticated computational modeling efforts that are only just getting under way Berker et al. Understanding the factors that drive tES responsiveness is absolutely crucial to the aim of cognitive enhancement.

The Neuroethics of transcranial electrical stimulation

One cannot meaningfully speak of enhancement when a substantial portion of individuals shows no response or even a detriment. Potential costs to cognitive enhancement are often overlooked, but are a real possibility: enhancement of one cognitive function could be paired with a decline in another function Brem et al.


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In the diseased brain, this principle may be exploited to return network function to the normal state. For instance, in hemispatial neglect, tDCS studies may restore the balance between the overactive, non-lesioned hemisphere and the overinhibited, lesioned hemisphere. However, in the healthy brain, boosting one network function with tES may incur a cost to another network function. For example, while cathodal parietal tDCS enhanced attention to ipsilateral stimuli, it worsened performance for contralateral and bilateral stimuli Filmer et al.

Similarly, an improved ability to focus attention in a top-down manner e. To evaluate such costs, including control tasks that probe other cognitive abilities is essential Parkin et al. This is particularly important for multiple session tES studies, where both enhancements and costs may be larger and potentially longer lasting. Future research in this direction is imperative, as virtually nothing is known about the long-term effects of repeated tES on attention processes in the healthy brain, nor about its potential adverse effects. Another important avenue for future research is to combine tES with neuroimaging techniques Bergmann et al.

Moreover, neuroimaging may greatly inform the choice of stimulation parameters. Clark et al. Is transcranial electrical stimulation an effective tool to enhance attention? At present, it is too early to say. Although the initial findings are encouraging, they require replication and further study. However, the interest from society at large in tES is considerable and has grossly outpaced the state of the field.

Informal surveys suggest that enhancement is the most common incentive for the growing use of tES at home, and that attention tops the list of enhancement purposes Jwa A recent open letter signed by many leading tES experts commands utmost caution and highlights a long list of unknowns that preclude practical applications of tES for enhancement Wurzman et al. We can only underscore that statement on the basis of this review and hope that our overview of current studies and recommendations for future research will help to determine the efficacy of tES for enhancing attention.

We thank Marlies Vissers and three anonymous reviewers for providing useful feedback on the manuscript. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Authors Authors and affiliations L. Reteig L.

Talsma M. Open Access. First Online: 10 March Introduction Attention—the ability to prioritize processing of goal-relevant information—underpins many of our daily behaviors. We aim to provide a comprehensive overview of studies conducted to date that used tES to modulate attention.

STIPED - Brain stimulation

After a systematic search and screening of the results, we included 52 studies. Each of these tasks taps into distinct attentional processes that are relevant in different real-life situations. Our selection also included six studies that did not fit into one of these four categories Table 5. Table 1 Studies using visual search tasks. All studies were sham controlled A anodal, C cathodal, ref location of tDCS electrode that was not of interest, FEF frontal eye field, PPC posterior parietal cortex, Online task performed during stimulation, Offline task performed after stimulation, Dosage zero-to-peak amplitude.

Table 2 Studies using spatial orienting tasks, with and without spatial cues. All studies were sham controlled A anodal, C cathodal, ref location of tDCS electrode that was not of interest, IPS intraparietal sulcus, Online task performed during stimulation, Offline task performed after stimulation, Dosage zero-to-peak amplitude. Table 3 Studies using spatial bias tasks, in healthy controls or neglect patients. Table 4 Studies using sustained attention tasks.

Effect only present when compared to opposite montage, not sham Axelrod et al. No effects on reaction time Plewnia et al. No effects on reaction time Hsu et al. Studies are presented in order of appearance in the body text; studies not cited in the body text appear in the bottom section of the table in alphabetical order A anodal, C cathodal, ref location of tDCS electrode that was not of interest, Online task performed during stimulation, Offline task performed after stimulation. Table 5 Studies using other attention paradigms not discussed in the body text.

All studies were sham controlled, except London and Slagter A anodal, C cathodal, ref location of tDCS electrode that was not of interest, Online task performed during stimulation, Offline task performed after stimulation. Stimulus-Driven Orienting The effects of tES on stimulus-driven orienting can be studied by stimulating the parietal cortex ipsi- or contralateral to a target stimulus. Endogenous and Exogenous Orienting Spatial cueing tasks, such as the classical Posner paradigm, can chart how spatial attention prior to stimulus presentation facilitates performance Chica et al.

Pseudoneglect Loftus and Nicholls demonstrated that pseudoneglect can be reversed with anodal tDCS over the left parietal cortex. Hemispatial Neglect Hemispatial neglect occurs most frequently following lesions of the right ventral parietal cortex Vallar and Perani Acknowledgements We thank Marlies Vissers and three anonymous reviewers for providing useful feedback on the manuscript.

Antal, A.


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    Review ARTICLE

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    Neuropsychologia, 38 1 , 93— Jones, K. In addition, it addresses a very timely and relevant issue which has long been known to require more treatment. Search Site only in current section. Advanced Search…. About Us. Ringvorlesung "Wege zur Erforschung des Gehirns". Press Coverage. Bernstein Center Freiburg. University of Freiburg. Document Actions Print this. However, although Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation TMS and particularly Transcranial Electrical Stimulation tES have the potential to become more widely applicable techniques, as they come with none of the risks associated with deep brain stimulation.