Non-invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS)

How do we study human brains and behavior?

Papers for next 3 weeks

Oct. 16: tDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation)

Oct. 23: TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation)

Oct. 30: DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation)

Flavors of Non-invasive Brain Stimulation

  • tDCS: transcranial direct current stimulation
    • Anodal: Positive current
    • Cathodal: Negative current
    • Place 2 electrodes on scalp, send weak current
  • tACS: transcranial alternating current stimulation
    • Current is alternating (oscillatiory)
  • TMS: transcranial magnetic stimulation
    • No current send into scalp
    • Induce cortical neurons to fire through changing electromagnetic field
    • Various protocols: spTMS (single pulse), rTMS (repetitive), ppTMS (paired pulse)


Nitsche and Paulus, 2000

Typical Experimental Designs

  • Test - Stimulate - Test
  • Continuous recording version
  • Sham/Active stimulation (cross-over design) version

Studied Behavioral Effects of tDCS

Additional Resources

Transcranial Electical Stimulation - Google Slides