Unleashing potential

Transcranial direct current stimulation over the right posterior parietal cortex improves change detection in low-performing individuals

Philip Tseng, Tzu Yu Hsu, Chi Fu Chang, Ovid J L Tzeng, Daisy L. Hung, Neil G. Muggleton, Vincent Walsh, Wei Kuang Liang, Shih Kuen Cheng, Chi Hung Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

139 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The limits of human visual short-term memory (VSTM) have been well documented, and recent neuroscientific studies suggest that VSTM performance is associated with activity in the posterior parietal cortex. Here we show that artificially elevating parietal activity via positively charged electric current through the skull can rapidly and effortlessly improve people's VSTM performance. This artificial improvement, however, comes withan interesting twist: itinteracts with people's natural VSTM capability such that low performers who tend to remember less information benefitted from the stimulation, whereas high performers did not. This behavioral dichotomy is explained by event-related potentials around the parietal regions: lowper formers showed increasedwaveformsinN2pcandcontralateral delay activity (CDA), which implies improvement in attention deployment and memory access in the current paradigm, respectively. Interestingly, these components are found during the presentation of the test array instead of the retention interval, from the parietal sites ipsilateral to the target location, thus suggesting that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was mainly improving one's ability to suppress no-change distractors located on the irrelevant side of the display during the comparison stage. The high performers, however, did not benefit from tDCS as they showed equally large waveforms in N2pc and CDA, or SPCN (sustained parietal contralateral negativity), before and after the stimulation such that electrical stimulation could not help any further, which also accurately accounts for our behavioral observations. Together, these results suggest that thereis indeed a fixed upper limit inVSTM, but the low performers can benefit from neurostimulation to reach that maximum via enhanced comparison processes, and such behavioral improvement can be directly quantified and visualized by the magnitude of its associated electrophysiological waveforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10554-10561
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume32
Issue number31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Parietal Lobe
Short-Term Memory
Aptitude
Evoked Potentials
Skull
Electric Stimulation
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Unleashing potential : Transcranial direct current stimulation over the right posterior parietal cortex improves change detection in low-performing individuals. / Tseng, Philip; Hsu, Tzu Yu; Chang, Chi Fu; Tzeng, Ovid J L; Hung, Daisy L.; Muggleton, Neil G.; Walsh, Vincent; Liang, Wei Kuang; Cheng, Shih Kuen; Juan, Chi Hung.

In: Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 32, No. 31, 01.08.2012, p. 10554-10561.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tseng, Philip ; Hsu, Tzu Yu ; Chang, Chi Fu ; Tzeng, Ovid J L ; Hung, Daisy L. ; Muggleton, Neil G. ; Walsh, Vincent ; Liang, Wei Kuang ; Cheng, Shih Kuen ; Juan, Chi Hung. / Unleashing potential : Transcranial direct current stimulation over the right posterior parietal cortex improves change detection in low-performing individuals. In: Journal of Neuroscience. 2012 ; Vol. 32, No. 31. pp. 10554-10561.
@article{f170265333ee475dbfdf8beff93deb08,
title = "Unleashing potential: Transcranial direct current stimulation over the right posterior parietal cortex improves change detection in low-performing individuals",
abstract = "The limits of human visual short-term memory (VSTM) have been well documented, and recent neuroscientific studies suggest that VSTM performance is associated with activity in the posterior parietal cortex. Here we show that artificially elevating parietal activity via positively charged electric current through the skull can rapidly and effortlessly improve people's VSTM performance. This artificial improvement, however, comes withan interesting twist: itinteracts with people's natural VSTM capability such that low performers who tend to remember less information benefitted from the stimulation, whereas high performers did not. This behavioral dichotomy is explained by event-related potentials around the parietal regions: lowper formers showed increasedwaveformsinN2pcandcontralateral delay activity (CDA), which implies improvement in attention deployment and memory access in the current paradigm, respectively. Interestingly, these components are found during the presentation of the test array instead of the retention interval, from the parietal sites ipsilateral to the target location, thus suggesting that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was mainly improving one's ability to suppress no-change distractors located on the irrelevant side of the display during the comparison stage. The high performers, however, did not benefit from tDCS as they showed equally large waveforms in N2pc and CDA, or SPCN (sustained parietal contralateral negativity), before and after the stimulation such that electrical stimulation could not help any further, which also accurately accounts for our behavioral observations. Together, these results suggest that thereis indeed a fixed upper limit inVSTM, but the low performers can benefit from neurostimulation to reach that maximum via enhanced comparison processes, and such behavioral improvement can be directly quantified and visualized by the magnitude of its associated electrophysiological waveforms.",
author = "Philip Tseng and Hsu, {Tzu Yu} and Chang, {Chi Fu} and Tzeng, {Ovid J L} and Hung, {Daisy L.} and Muggleton, {Neil G.} and Vincent Walsh and Liang, {Wei Kuang} and Cheng, {Shih Kuen} and Juan, {Chi Hung}",
year = "2012",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0362-12.2012",
language = "English",
volume = "32",
pages = "10554--10561",
journal = "Journal of Neuroscience",
issn = "0270-6474",
publisher = "Society for Neuroscience",
number = "31",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Unleashing potential

T2 - Transcranial direct current stimulation over the right posterior parietal cortex improves change detection in low-performing individuals

AU - Tseng, Philip

AU - Hsu, Tzu Yu

AU - Chang, Chi Fu

AU - Tzeng, Ovid J L

AU - Hung, Daisy L.

AU - Muggleton, Neil G.

AU - Walsh, Vincent

AU - Liang, Wei Kuang

AU - Cheng, Shih Kuen

AU - Juan, Chi Hung

PY - 2012/8/1

Y1 - 2012/8/1

N2 - The limits of human visual short-term memory (VSTM) have been well documented, and recent neuroscientific studies suggest that VSTM performance is associated with activity in the posterior parietal cortex. Here we show that artificially elevating parietal activity via positively charged electric current through the skull can rapidly and effortlessly improve people's VSTM performance. This artificial improvement, however, comes withan interesting twist: itinteracts with people's natural VSTM capability such that low performers who tend to remember less information benefitted from the stimulation, whereas high performers did not. This behavioral dichotomy is explained by event-related potentials around the parietal regions: lowper formers showed increasedwaveformsinN2pcandcontralateral delay activity (CDA), which implies improvement in attention deployment and memory access in the current paradigm, respectively. Interestingly, these components are found during the presentation of the test array instead of the retention interval, from the parietal sites ipsilateral to the target location, thus suggesting that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was mainly improving one's ability to suppress no-change distractors located on the irrelevant side of the display during the comparison stage. The high performers, however, did not benefit from tDCS as they showed equally large waveforms in N2pc and CDA, or SPCN (sustained parietal contralateral negativity), before and after the stimulation such that electrical stimulation could not help any further, which also accurately accounts for our behavioral observations. Together, these results suggest that thereis indeed a fixed upper limit inVSTM, but the low performers can benefit from neurostimulation to reach that maximum via enhanced comparison processes, and such behavioral improvement can be directly quantified and visualized by the magnitude of its associated electrophysiological waveforms.

AB - The limits of human visual short-term memory (VSTM) have been well documented, and recent neuroscientific studies suggest that VSTM performance is associated with activity in the posterior parietal cortex. Here we show that artificially elevating parietal activity via positively charged electric current through the skull can rapidly and effortlessly improve people's VSTM performance. This artificial improvement, however, comes withan interesting twist: itinteracts with people's natural VSTM capability such that low performers who tend to remember less information benefitted from the stimulation, whereas high performers did not. This behavioral dichotomy is explained by event-related potentials around the parietal regions: lowper formers showed increasedwaveformsinN2pcandcontralateral delay activity (CDA), which implies improvement in attention deployment and memory access in the current paradigm, respectively. Interestingly, these components are found during the presentation of the test array instead of the retention interval, from the parietal sites ipsilateral to the target location, thus suggesting that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was mainly improving one's ability to suppress no-change distractors located on the irrelevant side of the display during the comparison stage. The high performers, however, did not benefit from tDCS as they showed equally large waveforms in N2pc and CDA, or SPCN (sustained parietal contralateral negativity), before and after the stimulation such that electrical stimulation could not help any further, which also accurately accounts for our behavioral observations. Together, these results suggest that thereis indeed a fixed upper limit inVSTM, but the low performers can benefit from neurostimulation to reach that maximum via enhanced comparison processes, and such behavioral improvement can be directly quantified and visualized by the magnitude of its associated electrophysiological waveforms.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84864443118&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84864443118&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0362-12.2012

DO - 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0362-12.2012

M3 - Article

VL - 32

SP - 10554

EP - 10561

JO - Journal of Neuroscience

JF - Journal of Neuroscience

SN - 0270-6474

IS - 31

ER -