Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 234, Issue 1, pp 185–195 | Cite as

Vocal response inhibition is enhanced by anodal tDCS over the right prefrontal cortex

  • Leidy J. Castro-MenesesEmail author
  • Blake W. Johnson
  • Paul F. Sowman
Research Article


Stopping outright (reactive inhibition) and slowing down (proactive inhibition) are types of response inhibition which have mainly been investigated in the manual effector system. This study compared reactive inhibition across manual and vocal effector systems, examined the effects of excitatory anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (anodal tDCS) over the right prefrontal cortex (right-PFC) and looked at the relationship between reactive and proactive inhibition. We hypothesised (1) that vocal reactive inhibition would be less effective than manual reactive inhibition as evidenced by longer stop signal reaction times; (2) that anodal tDCS would enhance both vocal and manual reactive inhibitions and (3) that proactive and reactive inhibitions would be positively related. We tested 14 participants over two sessions (one session with anodal tDCS and one session with sham stimulation) and applied stimulation protocol in the middle of the session, i.e. only during the second of three phases. We used a stop signal task across two stop conditions: relevant and irrelevant stop conditions in which stopping was required or ignored, respectively. We found that reactive inhibition was faster during and immediately after anodal tDCS relative to sham. We also found that greater level of proactive inhibition enhanced reactive inhibition (indexed by shorter stop signal reaction times). These results support the hypothesis that the right-PFC is part of a core network for reactive inhibition and supports previous contention that proactive inhibition is possibly modulated via preactivating the reactive inhibition network.


Anodal tDCS Vocal inhibition Stop signal task Response inhibition Reactive inhibition and proactive inhibition 



This research was supported by Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarships (MQRES), National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia (#1003760), and the Australian Research Council (DE130100868).

Author contributions

LCM and PFS designed the experiments, collected and analysed the data. LCM, PFS and BWJ wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leidy J. Castro-Meneses
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Blake W. Johnson
    • 1
  • Paul F. Sowman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive Science, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders (CCD)Macquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Cognitive Science, Perception in Action Research Centre (PARC)Macquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

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