Scientific article
Open access

Neural mechanisms underlying improved new-word learning with high-density transcranial direct current stimulation

Published inNeuroImage, vol. 294, 120649
Publication date2024-07-01
First online date2024-05-16

Neurobehavioral studies have provided evidence for the effectiveness of anodal tDCS on language production, by stimulation of the left Inferior Frontal Gyrus (IFG) or of left Temporo-Parietal Junction (TPJ). However, tDCS is currently not used in clinical practice outside of trials, because behavioral effects have been inconsistent and underlying neural effects unclear. Here, we propose to elucidate the neural correlates of verb and noun learning and to determine if they can be modulated with anodal high-definition (HD) tDCS stimulation. Thirty-six neurotypical participants were randomly allocated to anodal HD-tDCS over either the left IFG, the left TPJ, or sham stimulation. On day one, participants performed a naming task (pre-test). On day two, participants underwent a new-word learning task with rare nouns and verbs concurrently to HD-tDCS for 20 min. The third day consisted of a post-test of naming performance. EEG was recorded at rest and during naming on each day. Verb learning was significantly facilitated by left IFG stimulation. HD-tDCS over the left IFG enhanced functional connectivity between the left IFG and TPJ and this correlated with improved learning. HD-tDCS over the left TPJ enabled stronger local activation of the stimulated area (as indexed by greater alpha and beta-band power decrease) during naming, but this did not translate into better learning. Thus, tDCS can induce local activation or modulation of network interactions. Only the enhancement of network interactions, but not the increase in local activation, leads to robust improvement of word learning. This emphasizes the need to develop new neuromodulation methods influencing network interactions. Our study suggests that this may be achieved through behavioral activation of one area and concomitant activation of another area with HD-tDCS.

  • Functional connectivity (FC)
  • Left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG)
  • Left temporo-parietal junction (TPJ)
  • New-word learning
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
  • Humans
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation / methods
  • Female
  • Male
  • Adult
  • Young Adult
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Verbal Learning / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Learning / physiology
Citation (ISO format)
FARCY, Camille Sophie Eleonore et al. Neural mechanisms underlying improved new-word learning with high-density transcranial direct current stimulation. In: NeuroImage, 2024, vol. 294, p. 120649. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2024.120649
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1053-8119

Technical informations

Creation06/12/2024 6:53:54 AM
First validation06/17/2024 9:48:54 AM
Update time06/17/2024 9:48:54 AM
Status update06/17/2024 9:48:54 AM
Last indexation06/17/2024 9:49:15 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack