Improving motion detection via tDCS

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Improving motion detection via anodal transcranial direct current stimulation.

BACKGROUND: To study motion perception, a stimulus consisting of a field of small, moving dots is often used. Generally, some of the dots coherently move in the same direction (signal) while the rest move randomly (noise). A percept of global coherent motion (CM) results when many different local motions are combined. CM computation is a complex process that requires the integrity of the middle-temporal area (MT/V5) and there is evidence that increasing the number of dots presented in the stimulus makes such computation more efficient.
OBJECTIVE: In this study, we explored whether anodal direct current stimulation ( tDCS) over MT/V5 would increase individual performance in a CM task at a low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR, i.e. low percentage of coherent dots) and with a target consisting of a large number of moving dots (high dot numerosity, e.g. >250 dots) with respect to low dot numerosity (<60 dots), indicating that tDCS favour the integration of local motion signal into a single global percept (global motion).
METHOD: Participants were asked to perform a CM detection task (two-interval forced-choice, 2IFC) while they received anodal, cathodal, or sham stimulation on three different days.
RESULTS: Our findings showed no effect of cathodal tDCS with respect to the sham condition. Instead, anodal tDCS improves performance, but mostly when dot numerosity is high (>400 dots) to promote efficient global motion processing.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study suggests that tDCS may be used under appropriate stimulus conditions (low SNR and high dot numerosity) to boost the global motion processing efficiency, and may be useful to empower clinical protocols to treat visual deficits.

PMID: 33016896 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2020 Sep 28;:

Authors: Battaglini L, Mena F, Casco C

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