Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over left inferior frontal gyrus enhances sentence comprehension

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Abstract

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.

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