The impact of transcranial direct current stimulation on inhibitory control in young adults

Loftus, Andrea M, Yalcin, Ozgur, Baughman, Frank D, Vanman, Eric J and Hagger, Martin S (2015) The impact of transcranial direct current stimulation on inhibitory control in young adults. Brain and Behavior, 5 5: . doi:10.1002/brb3.332

Author Loftus, Andrea M
Yalcin, Ozgur
Baughman, Frank D
Vanman, Eric J
Hagger, Martin S
Title The impact of transcranial direct current stimulation on inhibitory control in young adults
Journal name Brain and Behavior   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2162-3279
Publication date 2015-05
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/brb3.332
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 5
Issue 5
Total pages 9
Place of publication West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
There is increasing evidence that the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a brain region related to reward and motivational processes, is involved in effective response inhibition and that decreased activity in this region coincides with reduced inhibitory capacity. Using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to manipulate cortical activation, this study examined whether cross-hemispheric tDCS over the DLPFC affected performance on an inhibitory control task.

Neurologically intact participants performed a modified Stroop color-word matching task before and after completing one of two tDCS conditions; (1) anodal stimulation over the left DLPFC or (2) sham tDCS.


There was a statistically significant effect of tDCS condition on Stroop reaction time (RT) pre-post tDCS change scores. Participants who received anodal stimulation over the left DLPFC demonstrated statistically significant faster RT change scores on the Stroop items compared to participants in the sham condition. Although errors on Stroop incongruent items decreased before and after receiving the tDCS treatment, there were no significant differences in errors on Stroop items between the anodal stimulation over left DLPFC and sham tDCS conditions. Anodal tDCS, which is known to elevate neural excitation, may have enhanced activation levels in the left DLPFC and minimized impairment of inhibitory control, resulting in better task performance.

Current findings provide preliminary evidence that increased excitation of the left DLPFC improves inhibitory control and are a step toward understanding the potential of tDCS for moderating deficits in inhibitory control.
Keyword Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
Executive functioning
Transcranial direct current stimulation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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