Event Abstract

Modulating arithmetic performance and number processing using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

  • 1 University of Zurich, Institute of Psychology, Switzerland
  • 2 ETH Zurich, Institute for Behavioral Sciences, Switzerland

Developmental Dyscalculia (DD) – the innate inability to adequately process numbers and arithmetic – is a widespread and highly detrimental disorder among schoolchildren as well as among adults. In recent years, neuroscientists were able to successfully pinpoint the neural correlates of arithmetic and number processing. Especially the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) was recognized as a core region for mathematical processing. People suffering from DD show structural and functional changes in this region. Despite these findings, there is still no elaborated treatment of DD which focuses on the IPS.
In our study, we used the method of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to modulate performance in number processing and arithmetic. Placing the electrodes over P3 and P4 of the international EEG 10-20-system, we excited as well as inhibited the IPS bilaterally in a repeated-measures design. Furthermore, we compared bilateral anodal tDCS (simultaneous stimulation of both hemispheres) with the traditional, one-sided anodal tDCS (of the left hemisphere).
We found significant performance improvements due to excitatory anodal stimulations as well as performance declines following inhibitory cathodal stimulation.
To summarize, our findings suggest that tDCS is a promising method for modulating arithmetic abilities and point to the potential benefit of this method for people with DD.

Conference: EARLI SIG22 - Neuroscience and Education, Zurich, Switzerland, 3 Jun - 5 Jun, 2010.

Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Topic: Arithmetic and higher-order mathematics

Citation: Hauser TU, Koeneke S and Jäncke L (2010). Modulating arithmetic performance and number processing using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). Front. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: EARLI SIG22 - Neuroscience and Education. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnins.2010.11.00046

Received: 31 May 2010; Published Online: 31 May 2010.

* Correspondence: Tobias U Hauser, University of Zurich, Institute of Psychology, Zurich, Switzerland, hauser@ifv.gess.ethz.ch

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