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Access to consciousness of briefly presented visual events is modulated by transcranial direct current stimulation of left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.


ABSTRACT: Adaptive behaviour requires the ability to process goal-relevant events at the expense of irrelevant ones. However, perception of a relevant visual event can transiently preclude access to consciousness of subsequent events - a phenomenon called attentional blink (AB). Here we investigated involvement of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in conscious access, by using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to potentiate or reduce neural excitability in the context of an AB task. In a sham-controlled experimental design, we applied between groups anodal or cathodal tDCS over the left DLPFC, and examined whether this stimulation modulated the proportion of stimuli that were consciously reported during the AB period. We found that tDCS over the left DLPFC affected the proportion of consciously perceived target stimuli. Moreover, anodal and cathodal tDCS had opposing effects, and exhibited different temporal patterns. Anodal stimulation attenuated the AB, enhancing conscious report earlier in the AB period. Cathodal stimulation accentuated the AB, reducing conscious report later in the AB period. These findings support the notion that the DLPFC plays a role in facilitating information transition from the unconscious to the conscious stage of processing.

SUBMITTER: Sdoia S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6662720 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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