There is emerging evidence from imaging studies that parietal and temporal cortices act together to achieve successful recognition of declarative information; nevertheless, the precise role of these regions remains elusive. To evaluate the role of these brain areas in declarative memory retrieval, we applied bilateral tDCS, with anode over the left and cathode over the right parietal or temporal cortices separately, during the recognition phase of a verbal learning paradigm using a balanced old-new decision task. In a parallel group design, we tested three different groups of healthy adults, matched for demographic and neurocognitive status: two groups received bilateral active stimulation of either the parietal or the temporal cortex, while a third group received sham stimulation. Accuracy, discriminability index (d') and reaction times of recognition memory performance were measurements of interest. The d' sensitivity index and accuracy percentage improved in both active stimulation groups, as compared with the sham one, while reaction times remained unaffected. Moreover, the analysis of accuracy revealed a different effect of tDCS for old and new item recognition. While the temporal group showed enhanced performance for old item recognition, the parietal group was better at correctly recognising new ones. Our results support an active role of both of these areas in memory retrieval, possibly underpinning different stages of the recognition process.
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Copyright: © 2015 Pisoni et al.