Anodal tDCS and High-Frequency tRNS Targeting the Occipitotemporal Cortex Do Not Always Enhance Face Perception

Megan L. Willis, Andrea Costantino, Michael A. Nitsche, Romina Palermo, Davide Rivolta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There has been increasing interest in the utility of transcranial electrical stimulation as a tool to enhance cognitive abilities. In the domain of face perception, enhancements have been reported for both transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and high-frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) targeting the occipitotemporal cortex. In a series of two experiments, we attempted to replicate these findings for face identity perception, and extend on previous studies, to determine if similar enhancements are also observed for object and facial expression perception. In Experiment 1, using a single blind, between-subjects design in healthy volunteers (N = 53), we examined whether anodel tDCS over the occipitotemporal cortex enhanced performance on tasks involving perception of face identity, facial expression, and object stimuli, when compared to sham stimulation. We failed to replicate previous findings of enhanced performance on face and object perception, nor extend findings to facial expression perception. In Experiment 2, using a single blind, between-subjects design (N = 39), we examined the effect of high-frequency tRNS over the occipitotemporal cortex using the same three tasks employed in Experiment 1. We failed to replicate previous findings of enhanced face perception following high-frequency tRNS over the occipitotemporal cortex, relative to sham stimulation (although we used different stimulation parameters to that employed in a previous study). We also found no evidence of enhanced facial expression and object perception following high-frequency tRNS. The findings align with a growing body of studies that have failed to replicate previously reported enhancements following administration of tDCS and hint for different efficacy of, on first sight, related stimulation protocols. Future studies should explore the foundation of these differential effects in greater detail.

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2019

Cite this

Willis, Megan L. ; Costantino, Andrea ; Nitsche, Michael A. ; Palermo, Romina ; Rivolta, Davide. / Anodal tDCS and High-Frequency tRNS Targeting the Occipitotemporal Cortex Do Not Always Enhance Face Perception. In: Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2019 ; Vol. 13.
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Anodal tDCS and High-Frequency tRNS Targeting the Occipitotemporal Cortex Do Not Always Enhance Face Perception. / Willis, Megan L.; Costantino, Andrea; Nitsche, Michael A.; Palermo, Romina; Rivolta, Davide.

In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, Vol. 13, 78, 12.02.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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