Using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) to understand cognitive processing
Reinhart, Robert M.G.
Cosman, Josh D.
Woodman, Geoffrey F.
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Citation (published version)R.M.G. Reinhart, J.D. Cosman, K. Fukuda, G.F. Woodman. 2017. "Using transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) to understand cognitive processing." Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, Volume 79, Issue 1, pp. 3 - 23. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-016-1224-2
Noninvasive brain stimulation methods are becoming increasingly common tools in the kit of the cognitive scientist. In particular, transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) is showing great promise as a tool to causally manipulate the brain and understand how information is processed. The popularity of this method of brain stimulation is based on the fact that it is safe, inexpensive, its effects are long lasting, and you can increase the likelihood that neurons will fire near one electrode and decrease the likelihood that neurons will fire near another. However, this method of manipulating the brain to draw causal inferences is not without complication. Because tDCS methods continue to be refined and are not yet standardized, there are reports in the literature that show some striking inconsistencies. Primary among the complications of the technique is that the tDCS method uses two or more electrodes to pass current and all of these electrodes will have effects on the tissue underneath them. In this tutorial, we will share what we have learned about using tDCS to manipulate how the brain perceives, attends, remembers, and responds to information from our environment. Our goal is to provide a starting point for new users of tDCS and spur discussion of the standardization of methods to enhance replicability.