High-definition tDCSof the temporo-parietal cortex enhances access to newly learned words

G Perceval, AK Martin, DA Copland, Matti Laine, M Meinzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Learning associations between words and their referents is crucial for language learning in the developing and adult brain and for language re-learning after neurological injury. Non-invasive transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to the posterior temporo-parietal cortex has been suggested to enhance this process. However, previous studies employed standard tDCS set-ups that induce diffuse current flow in the brain, preventing the attribution of stimulation effects to the target region. This study employed high-definition tDCS (HD-tDCS) that allowed the current flow to be constrained to the temporo-parietal cortex, to clarify its role in novel word learning. In a shamcontrolled, double-blind, between-subjects design, 50 healthy adults learned associations between legal non-words and unfamiliar object pictures. Participants were stratified by baseline learning ability on a short version of the learning paradigm and pairwise randomized to active (20 mins; N = 25) or sham (40 seconds; N = 25) HD-tDCS. Accuracy was comparable during the baseline and experimental phases in both HD-tDCS conditions. However, active HD-tDCS resulted in faster retrieval of correct wordpicture pairs. Our findings corroborate the critical role of the temporo-parietal cortex in novel word learning, which has implications for current theories of language acquisition.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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