Frequency Band-Specific Electrical Brain Stimulation Modulates Cognitive Control Processes

Joram van Driel, Ilja G. Sligte, Jara Linders, Daniel Elport, Michael X Cohen, Andrea Antal
2015 PLoS ONE  
A large body of findings has tied midfrontal theta-band (4-8 Hz) oscillatory activity to adaptive control mechanisms during response conflict. Thus far, this evidence has been correlational. To evaluate whether theta oscillations are causally involved in conflict processing, we applied transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) in the theta band to a midfrontal scalp region, while human subjects performed a spatial response conflict task. Conflict was introduced by incongruency between
more » ... the location of the target stimulus and the required response hand. As a control condition, we used alpha-band (8-12 Hz) tACS over the same location. The exact stimulation frequencies were determined empirically for each subject based on a pre-stimulation EEG session. Behavioral results showed general conflict effects of slower response times (RT) and lower accuracy for high conflict trials compared to low conflict trials. Importantly, this conflict effect was reduced specifically during theta tACS, which was driven by slower response times on low conflict trials. These results show how theta tACS can modulate adaptive cognitive control processes, which is in accordance with the view of midfrontal theta oscillations as an active mechanism for cognitive control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0138984 pmid:26405801 pmcid:PMC4583279 fatcat:qtytifgz5zf4zlw6absloomyde