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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00159

The joint effects of spatial cueing and transcranial direct current stimulation on visual acuity

  • 1Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
  • 2University of Haifa, Israel

The present study examined the mutual influence of cortical neuroenhancement and allocation of spatial attention on perception. Specifically, it explored the effects of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on visual acuity measured with a Landolt gap task and attentional precues. The exogenous cues were used to draw attention either to the location of the target or away from it, generating significant performance benefits and costs. Anodal tDCS applied to posterior occipital area for fifteen minutes improved performance during stimulation, reflecting heightened visual acuity. Reaction times were lower, and accuracy was higher in the tDCS group, compared to a sham control group. Additionally, in post-stimulation trials tDCS significantly interacted with the effect of precuing. Reaction times were lower in valid cued trials (benefit) and higher in invalid trials (cost) compared to neutrally cued trials, the effect which was pronounced stronger in tDCS group than in sham control group. The increase of cost and benefit effects in the tDCS group was of a similar magnitude, suggesting that anodal tDCS influenced the overall process of attention orienting. The observed interaction between the stimulation of the visual cortex and precueing indicates a magnification of attention modulation.

Keywords: tDCS, spatial attention, Visual Acuity, Landolt, Visual Cortex

Received: 26 Nov 2017; Accepted: 31 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Gregor Thut, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Juha Silvanto, University of Westminster, United Kingdom
Laura Dugué, Université Paris Descartes, France  

Copyright: © 2018 Bonder, Gopher and Yeshurun. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Miss. Taly Bonder, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, taly.bonder@gmail.com