We tested the possibility of enhancing natural language comprehension through the application of anodal tDCS (a-tDCS) over the left inferior frontal gyrus, a key region for verbal short-term memory and language comprehension. We designed a between subjects sham- and task-controlled study. During tDCS stimulation, participants performed a sentence to picture matching task in which targets were sentences with different load on short-term memory. Regardless of load on short-term memory, the Anodal group performed significantly better than the Sham group, thus providing evidence that a-tDCS over LIFG enhances natural language comprehension.
To our knowledge, we apply for the first time tDCS to boost sentence comprehension.
This result is of special interest also from a clinical perspective: applying a-tDCS in patients manifesting problems at the sentence level due to brain damage could enhance the effects of behavioral rehabilitation procedures aimed to improve language comprehension.