Modulating attentional biases of adults with autistic traits using transcranial direct current stimulation: A pilot study

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Abstract

While neurotypical individuals over-attend to the left-side of centrally-presented visual stimuli, this bias is reduced in individuals with autism/high levels of autistic traits. Because this difference is hypothesized to reflect relative reductions in right-hemisphere activation, it follows that increasing right-hemisphere activation should increase leftward bias. We administered transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the right posterior parietal cortex to individuals with low levels (n = 19) and high levels (n = 19) of autistic traits whilst they completed a greyscales task. Anodal tDCS increased leftward bias for high-trait, but not low-trait, individuals, while cathodal tDCS had no effect. This outcome suggests that typical attentional patterns driven by hemispheric lateralization could potentially be restored following right-hemisphere stimulation in high-trait individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-390
JournalAutism Research
Volume11
Issue number2
Early online date20 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

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Parietal Lobe
Autistic Disorder
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
Attentional Bias

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title = "Modulating attentional biases of adults with autistic traits using transcranial direct current stimulation: A pilot study",
abstract = "While neurotypical individuals over-attend to the left-side of centrally-presented visual stimuli, this bias is reduced in individuals with autism/high levels of autistic traits. Because this difference is hypothesized to reflect relative reductions in right-hemisphere activation, it follows that increasing right-hemisphere activation should increase leftward bias. We administered transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the right posterior parietal cortex to individuals with low levels (n = 19) and high levels (n = 19) of autistic traits whilst they completed a greyscales task. Anodal tDCS increased leftward bias for high-trait, but not low-trait, individuals, while cathodal tDCS had no effect. This outcome suggests that typical attentional patterns driven by hemispheric lateralization could potentially be restored following right-hemisphere stimulation in high-trait individuals.",
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