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Exp Brain Res. 2016 Mar;234(3):637-43. doi: 10.1007/s00221-015-4391-9. Epub 2015 Aug 18.

"Unfocus" on foc.us: commercial tDCS headset impairs working memory.

Author information

1
Cognitive Psychology Unit, Institute for Psychological Research, Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, 2333 AK, Leiden, The Netherlands. L.Steenbergen@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.
2
Cognitive Psychology Unit, Institute for Psychological Research, Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, 2333 AK, Leiden, The Netherlands.
3
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

In this study, we tested whether the commercial transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) headset foc.us improves cognitive performance, as advertised in the media. A single-blind, sham-controlled, within-subject design was used to assess the effect of online and off-line foc.us tDCS-applied over the prefrontal cortex in healthy young volunteers (n = 24) on working memory (WM) updating and monitoring. WM updating and monitoring, as assessed by means of the N-back task, is a cognitive-control process that has been shown to benefit from interventions with CE-certified tDCS devices. For both online and off-line stimulation protocols, results showed that active stimulation with foc.us, compared to sham stimulation, significantly decreased accuracy performance in a well-established task tapping WM updating and monitoring. These results provide evidence for the important role of the scientific community in validating and testing far-reaching claims made by the brain training industry.

KEYWORDS:

N-back; Updating; Working memory; foc.us; tDCS

PMID:
26280313
PMCID:
PMC4751189
DOI:
10.1007/s00221-015-4391-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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