Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 123, Issue 10, pp 1195–1203 | Cite as

Transcranial direct current stimulation of the prefrontal cortex increases attention to visual target stimuli

  • Nina Vierheilig
  • Andreas Mühlberger
  • Thomas Polak
  • Martin J. HerrmannEmail author
Psychiatry and Preclinical Psychiatric Studies - Original Article


Both functional imaging or EEG studies and studies including neurological patients found the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dLPFC) to be an important brain area for the processing of emotion and attention. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether emotion and attention can be modulated through bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the dLPFC. Therefore, we measured electroencephalographic occipital (early posterior negativity, EPN) and parietal ERPs (late positive potential, LPP) during an emotional picture viewing paradigm with an additional attentional instruction while applying bilateral anodal and cathodal tDC-stimulation to the left and right dLPFC. Beyond the well-known emotion and attention effects for both EPN and LPP, we found that left cathodal/right anodal tDCS leads to increased LPP amplitudes to target stimuli. In contrast to our hypothesis bilateral tDCS over the dLPFC did not influence emotional processing.


tDCS Emotion Attention Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex Early posterior negativity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Vierheilig
    • 1
  • Andreas Mühlberger
    • 2
  • Thomas Polak
    • 1
  • Martin J. Herrmann
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Clinic WürzburgUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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