Improved multitasking following prefrontal tDCS

Filmer, Hannah L., Mattingley, Jason B. and Dux, Paul E. (2013) Improved multitasking following prefrontal tDCS. Cortex, 49 10: 2845-2852. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2013.08.015

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Author Filmer, Hannah L.
Mattingley, Jason B.
Dux, Paul E.
Title Improved multitasking following prefrontal tDCS
Journal name Cortex   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0010-9452
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.08.015
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 49
Issue 10
Start page 2845
End page 2852
Total pages 8
Place of publication Milan, Italy
Publisher Elsevier Masson
Language eng
Subject 2728 Clinical Neurology
2808 Neurology
1201 Architecture
3204 Developmental and Educational Psychology
Abstract We have a limited capacity for mapping sensory information onto motor responses. This processing bottleneck is thought to be a key factor in determining our ability to make two decisions simultaneously - i.e., to multitask ( Pashler, 1984, 1994; Welford, 1952). Previous functional imaging research ( Dux, Ivanoff, Asplund, & Marois, 2006; Dux etal., 2009) has localised this bottleneck to the posterior lateral prefrontal cortex (pLPFC) of the left hemisphere. Currently, however, it is unknown whether this region is causally involved in multitasking performance. We investigated the role of the left pLPFC in multitasking using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The behavioural paradigm included single- and dual-task trials, each requiring a speeded discrimination of visual stimuli alone, auditory stimuli alone, or both visual and auditory stimuli. Reaction times for single- and dual-task trials were compared before, immediately after, and 20min after anodal stimulation (excitatory), cathodal stimulation (inhibitory), or sham stimulation. The cost of responding to the two tasks (i.e., the reduction in performance for dual- vs single-task trials) was significantly reduced by cathodal stimulation, but not by anodal or sham stimulation. Overall, the results provide direct evidence that the left pLPFC is a key neural locus of the central bottleneck that limits an individual's ability to make two simple decisions simultaneously.
Keyword Bottleneck
Posterior lateral prefrontal cortex
Response selection
Transcranial direct current stimulation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID DP110102925
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 35 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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