tRNS Modulation of the dichotic right ear

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Modulation of the dichotic right ear advantage during bilateral but not unilateral transcranial random noise stimulation.

Brain Cogn. 2018 06;123:81-88

Authors: Prete G, D’Anselmo A, Tommasi L, Brancucci A

Abstract
Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) has been increasingly adopted to modulate perceptual and cognitive functions, but the effects on auditory perception are still relatively uncharted. Starting from the evidence that a stronger right ear advantage effect (REA) in dichotic listening positively correlates with speech sound processing, the present study was aimed at modulating the REA by means of high-frequency transcranial Random Noise Stimulation (hf-tRNS). Stimulation was applied over the auditory cortex (AC) either unilaterally (Experiment 1, N = 50) or bilaterally (Experiment 2, N = 24) during a verbal dichotic listening task. The results confirmed the REA both during the sham and the tRNS session in both Experiments. Importantly, a significant enhancement of the REA was found during bilateral hf-tRNS with respect to sham (Experiment 1). No modulation was found when hf-tRNS was applied over the left or right AC with the reference electrode placed on the contralateral shoulder, with respect to sham (Experiment 2). This finding is discussed in the light of previous stimulation studies facing the modulation of hemispheric asymmetries. Our results suggest that the effectiveness of bilateral hf-tRNS in modulating basic speech processing mechanisms could be exploited in the treatment of language impairments.

PMID: 29547746 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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