Monthly
208 pp. per issue
8 1/2 x 11, illustrated
ISSN
0898-929X
E-ISSN
1530-8898
2014 Impact factor:
4.69

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

September 2016, Vol. 28, No. 9, Pages 1283-1294
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00967)
© 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Does Not Influence the Speed–Accuracy Tradeoff in Perceptual Decision-making: Evidence from Three Independent Studies
Article PDF (456.82 KB)
Abstract

In perceptual decision-making tasks, people balance the speed and accuracy with which they make their decisions by modulating a response threshold. Neuroimaging studies suggest that this speed–accuracy tradeoff is implemented in a corticobasal ganglia network that includes an important contribution from the pre-SMA. To test this hypothesis, we used anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to modulate neural activity in pre-SMA while participants performed a simple perceptual decision-making task. Participants viewed a pattern of moving dots and judged the direction of the global motion. In separate trials, they were cued to either respond quickly or accurately. We used the diffusion decision model to estimate the response threshold parameter, comparing conditions in which participants received sham or anodal tDCS. In three independent experiments, we failed to observe an influence of tDCS on the response threshold. Additional, exploratory analyses showed no influence of tDCS on the duration of nondecision processes or on the efficiency of information processing. Taken together, these findings provide a cautionary note, either concerning the causal role of pre-SMA in decision-making or on the utility of tDCS for modifying response caution in decision-making tasks.