Assessing the effects of tDCS over a delayed response inhibition task by targeting the right inferior frontal gyrus and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

Research paper by Davide Francesco DF Stramaccia, Barbara B Penolazzi, Giulia G Sartori, Miriam M Braga, Sara S Mondini, Giovanni G Galfano

Indexed on: 01 May '15Published on: 01 May '15Published in: Experimental Brain Research


Many situations in our everyday life call for a mechanism deputed to outright stop an ongoing course of action. This behavioral inhibition ability, known as response stopping, is often impaired in psychiatric conditions characterized by impulsivity and poor inhibitory control. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has recently been proposed as a tool for modulating response stopping in such clinical populations, and previous studies in healthy humans have already shown that this noninvasive brain stimulation technique is effectively able to improve response stopping, as measured in a stop-signal task (SST) administered immediately after the stimulation. So far, the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG) has been the main focus of these attempts to modulate response stopping by the means of noninvasive brain stimulation. However, other cortical areas such as the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC) have been implicated in inhibitory control with other paradigms. In order to provide new insight about the involvement of these areas in response stopping, in the present study, tDCS was delivered to 115 healthy subjects, using five stimulation setups that differed in terms of target area (rIFG or rDLPFC) and polarity of stimulation (anodal, cathodal, or sham). The SST was performed 15 min after the offset of the stimulation. Consistently with previous studies, only anodal stimulation over rIFG induced a reliable, although weak, improvement in the SST, which was specific for response stopping, as it was not mirrored in more general reaction time measures.