Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex enhances reflective judgment and decision-making

Daniel R. Edgcumbe, Volker Thoma, Davide Rivolta, Michael A. Nitsche, Cynthia H.Y. Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Accounts of cognitive processes in judgment and decision-making are frequently based on a dual-process framework, which reflects two qualitatively different types of processing: intuitive (Type 1) and analytical (Type 2) processes. 

Objective: The present study investigated the effects of bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) on judgment and decision-making performance. 

Methods: Participants received anodal tDCS stimulation to the right DLPFC, left DLPFC or sham. There were 3 tasks: vignettes measuring heuristic thinking, belief bias syllogisms, and the cognitive reflection test (CRT), a measure of the ability to inhibit automatic responses to reach a correct solution. Fifty-four participants (mean age = 24.63 ± 4.46 years; 29 females) were recruited. 

Results: Results showed that anodal tDCS to the right DLPFC was associated with an increase in cognitive reflection performance (Type 2 processing) as compared to left DLPFC and to sham. Logic thinking was reduced following anodal tDCS to the left DLPFC. 

Conclusion: These findings are broadly consistent with a dual process framework, and cannot be explained by differences in cognitive ability and thinking style. The results demonstrate the involvement of the right DLPFC in cognitive reflection, and suggest the possibility of improving cognitive performance through tDCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-658
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Stimulation
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cognitive reflection test
  • Decision-making
  • Neuromodulation
  • tDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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