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Poster E36, Friday, November 10, 10:00 – 11:15 am, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

High Definition-transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Modulates Category Verbal Fluency in Healthy Adults

Julie Fratantoni1, ReAna Limones1, Jeffrey Spence1, Julia Evans1, John Hart1;1The University of Texas at Dallas

Lexical and semantic retrieval processes are commonly disrupted in many clinical populations. Word generation or verbal fluency (VF) is one of the most commonly used tests in neuropsychological evaluations to detect such deficits. Recently, transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) has increased in popularity for its potential to modulate language and cognition. To our knowledge, no studies have investigated how High Definition-tDCS (HD-tDCS) on the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) impacts VF performance. This study used a double-blinded crossover design to determine how HD-tDCS affects VF performance in 35 healthy college students. Participants came for two sessions, one week apart, of anodal/sham stimulation over the LIFG. Immediately after stimulation participants were given the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) Verbal Fluency Test. We used a component analysis method developed by Ledoux and colleagues to examine clustering and switching behaviors in the VF responses. Component analysis is more sensitive than the traditional measure "total number of words". A mixed linear model revealed a significant effect of stimulation for number of switches (F(1, 45.2) = 5.21, p = .027) but not for number of clusters (F(1, 43.6) = .012, p = .914). There was no significant difference in total number of correct words (F(1, 43.4) = .335, p = .566). Results indicate HD-tDCS can have a selective effect on semantic retrieval processes; showing enhanced set maintenance performance in lexical retrieval processing. This study is a first step in understanding how HD-tDCS affects VF performance in healthy individuals. Further investigation is warranted to determine potential use for rehabilitation and intervention in clinical populations.

Topic Area: Meaning: Lexical Semantics

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