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Trends Neurosci. 2014 Dec;37(12):742-53. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2014.08.003. Epub 2014 Sep 2.

Applications of transcranial direct current stimulation for understanding brain function.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia. Electronic address: h.l.filmer@gmail.com.
2
School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.
3
School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia; Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072 Australia.

Abstract

In recent years there has been an exponential rise in the number of studies employing transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as a means of gaining a systems-level understanding of the cortical substrates underlying behaviour. These advances have allowed inferences to be made regarding the neural operations that shape perception, cognition, and action. Here we summarise how tDCS works, and show how research using this technique is expanding our understanding of the neural basis of cognitive and motor training. We also explain how oscillatory tDCS can elucidate the role of fluctuations in neural activity, in both frequency and phase, in perception, learning, and memory. Finally, we highlight some key methodological issues for tDCS and suggest how these can be addressed.

KEYWORDS:

memory; neural oscillations; neural processes; prefrontal cortex; tDCS; training

PMID:
25189102
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2014.08.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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