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Optimised Multi-channel Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (MtDCS) Reveals Differential Involvement of the Right-Ventrolateral Prefrontal Cortex (rVLPFC) And Insular Complex in those Predisposed to Aberrant Experiences

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Article number103610
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Consciousness and Cognition
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/12/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Research has shown a prominent role for cortical hyperexcitability underlying aberrant perceptions, hallucinations, and distortions in human conscious experience - even in neurotypical groups. The rVLPFC has been identified as an important structure in mediating cognitive affective states / feeling conscious states. The current study examined the involvement of the rVLPFC in mediating cognitive affective states in those predisposed to aberrant experiences in the neurotypical population. Participants completed two trait-based measures: (i) the Cortical Hyperexcitability Index_II (CHi_II, a proxy measure of cortical hyperexcitability) and (ii) two factors from the Cambridge Depersonalisation Scale (CDS). An optimised 7-channel MtDCS montage for stimulation conditions (Anodal, Cathodal and Sham) was created targeting the rVLPFC in a single-blind study. At the end of each stimulation session, participants completed a body-threat task (BTAB) while skin conductance responses (SCRs) and psychological responses were recorded. Participants with signs of increasing cortical hyperexcitability showed significant suppression of SCRs in the Cathodal stimulation relative to the Anodal and sSham conditions. Those high on the trait-based measures of depersonalisation-like experiences failed to show reliable effects. Collectively, the findings suggest that baseline brain states can mediate the effects of neurostimulation which would be missed via sample level averaging and without appropriate measures for stratifying individual differences. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.]