Poster B83, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Effects of Prefrontal tDCS on Executive Function: Methodological Considerations Revealed by Meta-Analysis
Michael Imburgio1, Madison Parks1, Lane Bannwart1, Joseph Orr1; 1Texas A&M University
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has rapidly gained in popularity for the treatment of various psychopathologies (e.g., depression, addiction, PTSD). A common target for stimulation is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a region that is often impacted by these diseases. As the DLPFC is often associated with executive function (EF), DLPFC tDCS treatment could act, at least in part, through effects on EF. While several meta-analyses have now examined the effects of DLFPC tDCS on cognition in general, there are no analyses which focus specifically on EF. A meta-analysis of studies using single-session transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to target the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was undertaken to examine the effect of stimulation on executive function (EF) in healthy samples. In line with the Unity-Diversity model of EF, we looked for studies with tasks targeting working memory updating, set-shifting, and inhibition. 30 studies were included in analyses, yielding 71 effect sizes. Analyses revealed a significant effect of anodal unilateral tDCS on updating tasks, but no effect of anodal unilateral stimulation on inhibition or set-shifting tasks. Further, extracranial cathodes yielded a significant effect on EF while cranial cathodes yielded no effect, and smaller electrodes were more effective than larger electrodes. The current work has implications for possible cognitive mechanisms in the treatment of disorders such as schizophrenia and depression with DLPFC tDCS. Additionally, moderator analyses provide important insight into methodological considerations for future studies attempting to modulate EF in healthy samples with single-session DLPFC tDCS.
Topic Area: METHODS: Other