Modulation of choice-induced preference changes using tDCS
The theory of cognitive dissonance suggests that individuals prefer new incoming information to be consistent with already existing knowledge. Conflicting or inconsistent information results in an emotionally uncomfortable state called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance theory suggests that a choice between two similarly valued alternatives creates psychological tension (cognitive dissonance) that is reduced by a post-decision re-evaluation of the alternatives. According to the action-based model of cognitive dissonance, activity in the posterior medial prefrontal cortex (pMFC) underlies the detection of cognitive conflicts and the reduction of the dissonance. Nevertheless, the neurocomputational foundation of cognitive dissonance remains unclear. In this study, for the first time we show that cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the pMFC significantly reduced post-decision re-evaluation of the alternatives. An ongoing follow-up study that applied anodal tDCS to the pMFC preliminarily showed a tendency to increase choice-induced preference changes. Our results suggest that cognitive dissonance, underlined by the activity of the prefrontal cortex, is a part of the performance-monitoring circuitry
Cognitive dissonance is an inner conflict caused by an inconsistency between a person’s opinions, attitudes, preferences or actions. It motivates people to reduce emerged discomfort by changing their contradicting opinions or preferences to minimize the discrepancy between them (Festinger, 1957). In difficult choices when a person has to choose between two or more equally preferred options this effect decreased preference for rejected option (Brehm, 1956). The neuronal mechanisms of cognitive dissonance are still not clear. Recent neuroimaging studies revealed several brain regions involved in preference changes induced by cognitive dissonance (Izuma et al., 2010; van Veen, Krug, Schooler, & Carter, 2009)actions simply reflect an individual’s preferences, whereas a psychological phenomenon called \» cognitive dissonance \» claims that actions can also create preference. Cognitive dissonance theory states that after making a difficult choice between two equally preferred items, the act of rejecting a favorite item induces an uncomfortable feeling (cognitive dissonance, but here we focus on the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC)(Colosio, Shestakova, Nikulin, Blagovechtchenski, & Klucharev, 2017). So as this region is activated during performing tasks with cognitive dissonance non-invasive stimulation of the pMFC can modulate the magnitude of effect and consequential decreasing of preferences (Izuma et al., 2015)preference for the chosen item will increase and preference for the unchosen item will decrease because of the choice made. In other words, we tend to justify or rationalize our past behavior by changing our attitude. This phenomenon of choice-induced preference change has been traditionally explained by cognitive dissonance theory. Choosing something that is disliked or not choosing something that is liked are both cognitively inconsistent and, to reduce this inconsistency, people tend to change their subsequently stated preference in accordance with their past choices. Previously, human neuroimaging studies identified posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFCthrough changing of neurons membrane potential. In our study, for the first time, we used transcranial direct 894 current stimulation (tDCS) of the pMFC to try to decrease and to increase the magnitude of choice-induced preference changes.
Taking a vegetal motif in Proust's novel "A la recherche du temps perdu" as an example, the paper considers some problems connected with the text understanding and its semantic interpretation.
Human societies crucially depend on social norms that specify appropriate actions in various situation. The effect of norms on collective behavior can break down if norm violations are not sanctioned. Social punishment is a form of behavior to enforce social norm compliance that relies on two key brain region: the “mentalizing network” (right temporo-parietal junction – rTPJ) evaluating individual responsibility and the “central-executive network” (right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – rDLPFC) determining the final decision to punish norm violators. Here we further investigate the role of the brain network – rDLPFC-rTPJ – in third-party punishment. We used transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) to disrupt the rDLPFC-rTPJ network of healthy subjects while they performed the Dictator Game. Our results suggests that the frequency of third-party punishment increased after the tDCS of the rDLPFC-rTPJ. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating the effect of simultaneous tDCS of the rDLPFC and rTPJ on the third-party punishment. We also show that personality traits modulate the effect of tDCS on the third-party punishment.
Humans often change their beliefs or behavior due to the behavior or opinions of others. This study explored, with the use of human event-related potentials (ERPs), whether social conformity is based on a general performance-monitoring mechanism. We tested the hypothesis that conflicts with a normative group opinion evoke a feedback-related negativity (FRN) often associated with performance monitoring and subsequent adjustment of behavior. The experimental results show that individual judgments of facial attractiveness were adjusted in line with a normative group opinion. A mismatch between individual and group opinions triggered a frontocentral negative deflection with the maximum at 200 ms, similar to FRN. Overall, a conflict with a normative group opinion triggered a cascade of neuronal responses: from an earlier FRN response reflecting a conflict with the normative opinion to a later ERP component (peaking at 380 ms) reflecting a conforming behavioral adjustment. These results add to the growing literature on neuronal mechanisms of social influence by disentangling the conflict-monitoring signal in response to the perceived violation of social norms and the neural signal of a conforming behavioral adjustment.
While polarity-specific after-effects of monopolar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on corticospinal excitability are well-documented, modulation of vital parameters due to current spread through the brainstem is still a matter of debate, raising potential concerns about its use through the general public, as well as for neurorehabilitation purposes. We monitored online and after-effects of monopolar tDCS (primary motor cortex) in 10 healthy subjects by adopting a neuronavigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)/tDCS combined protocol. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) together with vital parameters [e.g., blood pressure, heart-rate variability (HRV), and sympathovagal balance] were recorded and monitored before, during, and after anodal, cathodal, or sham tDCS. Ten MEPs, every 2.5-min time windows, were recorded from the right first dorsal interosseous (FDI), while 5-min epochs were used to record vital parameters. The protocol included 15 min of pre-tDCS and of online tDCS (anodal, cathodal, or sham). After-effects were recorded for 30 min. We showed a polarity-independent stabilization of cortical excitability level, a polarity-specific after-effect for cathodal and anodal stimulation, and an absence of persistent excitability changes during online stimulation. No significant effects on vital parameters emerged both during and after tDCS, while a linear increase in systolic/diastolic blood pressure and HRV was observed during each tDCS condition, as a possible unspecific response to experimental demands. Taken together, current findings provide new insights on the safety of monopolar tDCS, promoting its application both in research and clinical settings.