tDCS over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

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Cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex cancels out the cost of selective retrieval on subsequent analogical reasoning.

Analogical reasoning involves mapping the relation between two concepts within a specific field into a new domain to selectively retrieve a possible solution. Neuroimaging studies have shown that both selective retrieval and reasoning by analogy are related to activity in prefrontal regions such as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). In the present study, we investigate the role of the right DLPFC in modulating memory accessibility and its impact on analogical reasoning by using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Participants performed a four-term reasoning task after performing repeated selective retrieval of previously presented items, some of which could be used as solutions in the analogical test. During selective retrieval, half of the participants received cathodal tDCS over the right DLPFC and the other half received sham stimulation. The results reveal that whereas the sham group showed the expected cost in performance that is associated with selective retrieval, the cathodal group did not exhibit such an impairment in reasoning. No general effects of tDCS on analogical performance were observed. Altogether, our results support the involvement of the right DLPFC as a core component of a control network that selectively contributes to the retrieval component of analogical reasoning, but with little role in mapping relations between different domains.

PMID: 32171738 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Neuropsychologia. 2020 Mar 11;:107431

Authors: Valle TM, Bajo MT, Gómez-Ariza CJ