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Geoffrey Woodman, Robert Reinhart; Improving vision with transcranial direct-current stimulation. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):955. doi: 10.1167/17.10.955.
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The transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (tDCS) method would seem to lack the ability to selectively influence visual processing without affecting other cognitive abilities given its relatively poor temporal resolution and broad electrical fields. However, our recent research combining human electrophysiology with tDCS has shown that this type of noninvasive electrical brain stimulation can influence specific aspects of visual information processing without changing the operation of response selection, or other cognitive mechanisms beyond the fundamental mechanisms of the visual system. For example, when stimulating visual cortex, we find that we can change the earliest visual event-related potentials and fine-grained measures of visual acuity, but not subsequent electrophysiological indices of information processing. At the other end of the temporal continuum of visual processing, we can stimulate medial-frontal cortex and change the storage of representations in visual long-term memory, and thus how those objects are processed in the future, without changing other types of memory storage or late stage response selection. Thus, our findings indicate that tDCS is a surprisingly precise tool with which to study the visual system, offering additional possibilities of translating our discoveries into real-world treatments for vision problems.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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