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Poster C144

Effect of Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation on the Perception of Time Deviations

Poster Session C - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 5:00 – 7:00 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Mehrdad Bahadori1,2,3 (, Neha Bhutani4, Simone Dalla Bella1,2,3; 1International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), 2Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, 3Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music (CRBLM), 4Revai Inc

Time perception is a fundamental aspect of human cognition, and is associated with a range of cognitive processes, including executive functions such as inhibition control and working memory. There is evidence that transcutaneous stimulation of the vagus nerve (tVNS) can improve cognitive functions such as response inhibition and conflict processing. However, it is still unknown whether tVNS affects time perception. We expect that tVNS would affect the processing of time by modulating the neural circuits responsible for time perception, including prefrontal cortex, as it increase the activation of the locus coeruleus-noradrenaline system. To test this hypothesis, we asked 20 participants to perform an anisochrony detection task while they received tVNS or a sham stimulation. In this task, participants were asked to identify whether a sequence of five tones was temporally regular (i.e., isochronous) or irregular. When irregular, the fourth tone in the sequence was delayed. A staircase protocol produced estimates of the anisochrony detection threshold. We found that tVNS improved participants' ability to detect smaller time delays compared to the sham stimulation, showing enhanced sensitivity to detecting deviations from isochrony of tones. These findings suggest a potential link between the neural circuitries stimulated by tVNS and those subserving time perception.

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April 13–16  |  2024