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Effect of tDCS Over the Right Inferior Parietal Lobule on Mind-Wandering Propensity

Coulborn, Sean, Bowman, Howard, Miall, Chris, Fernández-Espejo, Davinia (2020) Effect of tDCS Over the Right Inferior Parietal Lobule on Mind-Wandering Propensity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, . pp. 1-20. ISSN 1662-5161. (KAR id:82811)


Mind-wandering is associated with switching our attention to internally directed thoughts and is by definition an intrinsic, self-generated cognitive function. Interestingly, previous research showed that it may be possible to modulate its propensity externally, with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) targeting different regions in the default mode and executive control networks (ECNs). However, these studies used highly heterogeneous montages (targeting the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), the right inferior parietal lobule (IPL), or both concurrently), often showed contradicting results, and in many cases failed to replicate. Our study aimed to establish whether tDCS of the default mode network (DMN), via targeting the right IPL alone, could modulate mind-wandering propensity using a within-subjects double-blind, counterbalanced design. Participants completed sustained attention to response task (SART) interspersed with thought-probes to capture their subjective reports of mind-wandering before and after receiving anodal, cathodal, or sham tDCS over the right IPL (with the reference over the left cheek). We found evidence for the lack of an effect of stimulation on subjective reports of mind-wandering (JZS-BF01 = 5.19), as well as on performance on the SART task (errors (JZS-BF01 = 6.79) and reaction time (JZS-BF01 = 5.94). Overall, we failed to replicate previous reports of successful modulations of mind-wandering propensity with tDCS over the IPL, instead of providing evidence in support of the lack of an effect. This and other recent unsuccessful replications call into question whether it is indeed possible to externally modulate spontaneous or self-generated cognitive processes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: transcranial direct current stimulation, mind-wandering, default mode network, sustained attention to response task, inferior parietal lobule, task-unrelated thoughts
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Howard Bowman
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2020 09:34 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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