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Emotion perception improvement following high frequency transcranial random noise stimulation of the inferior frontal cortex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tegan Penton, Laura Dixon, Lauren Jayne Evans, Michael J. Banissy

Original languageEnglish
Article number11278
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date12 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

King's Authors


Facial emotion perception plays a key role in interpersonal communication and is a precursor for a variety of socio-cognitive abilities. One brain region thought to support emotion perception is the inferior frontal cortex (IFC). The current study aimed to examine whether modulating neural activity in the IFC using high frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) could enhance emotion perception abilities. In Experiment 1, participants received either tRNS to IFC or sham stimulation prior to completing facial emotion and identity perception tasks. Those receiving tRNS significantly outperformed those receiving sham stimulation on facial emotion, but not identity, perception tasks. In Experiment 2, we examined whether baseline performance interacted with the effects of stimulation. Participants completed a facial emotion and identity discrimination task prior to and following tRNS to either IFC or an active control region (area V5/MT). Baseline performance was a significant predictor of emotion discrimination performance change following tRNS to IFC. This effect was not observed for tRNS targeted at V5/MT or for identity discrimination. Overall, the findings implicate the IFC in emotion processing and demonstrate that tRNS may be a useful tool to modulate emotion perception when accounting for individual differences in factors such as baseline task performance.

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