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PLoS One. 2014 Dec 22;9(12):e115772. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115772. eCollection 2014.

Electrical stimulation over bilateral occipito-temporal regions reduces N170 in the right hemisphere and the composite face effect.

Author information

1
CAS Key Laboratory of Brain Function & Disease, and School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China.
2
Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, China.
3
The First Affiliated Hospital, Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, Hefei, Anhui, China.
4
CAS Key Laboratory of Brain Function & Disease, and School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China; Center of Medical Physics and Technology, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, CAS, Hefei, Anhui, China; School of Humanities & Social Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China.
5
Center for Functional Neuroimaging, Department of Neurology and Radiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that can modulate cortical excitability. Although the clinical value of tDCS has been advocated, the potential of tDCS in cognitive rehabilitation of face processing deficits is less understood. Face processing has been associated with the occipito-temporal cortex (OT). The present study investigated whether face processing in healthy adults can be modulated by applying tDCS over the OT. Experiment 1 investigated whether tDCS can affect N170, a face-sensitive ERP component, with a face orientation judgment task. The N170 in the right hemisphere was reduced in active stimulation conditions compared with the sham stimulation condition for both upright faces and inverted faces. Experiment 2 further demonstrated that tDCS can modulate the composite face effect, a type of holistic processing that reflects the obligatory attention to all parts of a face. The composite face effect was reduced in active stimulation conditions compared with the sham stimulation condition. Additionally, the current polarity did not modulate the effect of tDCS in the two experiments. The present study demonstrates that N170 can be causally manipulated by stimulating the OT with weak currents. Furthermore, our study provides evidence that obligatory attention to all parts of a face can be affected by the commonly used tDCS parameter setting.

PMID:
25531112
PMCID:
PMC4274090
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0115772
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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