Left parietal tACS at alpha frequency induces a shift of visuospatial attention

Autoři: Teresa Schuhmann aff001;  Selma K. Kemmerer aff001;  Felix Duecker aff001;  Tom A. de Graaf aff001;  Sanne ten Oever aff001;  Peter De Weerd aff001;  Alexander T. Sack aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands aff001;  Brain Imaging Center, Maastricht, The Netherlands aff002;  Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNs), Brain + Nerve Centre, Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+), Maastricht, The Netherlands aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217729



Voluntary shifts of visuospatial attention are associated with a lateralization of parieto-occipital alpha power (7-13Hz), i.e. higher power in the hemisphere ipsilateral and lower power contralateral to the locus of attention. Recent noninvasive neuromodulation studies demonstrated that alpha power can be experimentally increased using transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS).


We hypothesized that tACS at alpha frequency over the left parietal cortex induces shifts of attention to the left hemifield. However, spatial attention shifts not only occur voluntarily (endogenous/ top-down), but also stimulus-driven (exogenous/ bottom-up). To study the task-specificity of the potential effects of tACS on attentional processes, we administered three conceptually different spatial attention tasks.


36 healthy volunteers were recruited from an academic environment. In two separate sessions, we applied either high-density tACS at 10Hz, or sham tACS, for 35–40 minutes to their left parietal cortex. We systematically compared performance on endogenous attention, exogenous attention, and stimulus detection tasks.


In the endogenous attention task, a greater leftward bias in reaction times was induced during left parietal 10Hz tACS as compared to sham. There were no stimulation effects in either the exogenous attention or the stimulus detection task.


The study demonstrates that high-density tACS at 10Hz can be used to modulate visuospatial attention performance. The tACS effect is task-specific, indicating that not all forms of attention are equally susceptible to the stimulation.

Klíčová slova:

Attention – Functional electrical stimulation – Reaction time – Sensory cues – Target detection – Vision – Transcranial alternating current stimulation – Parietal lobe


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