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Brunnauer, Alexander; Segmiller, Felix M.; Löschner, Sabine; Grun, Valerie; Padberg, Frank; Palm, Ulrich (2018): The Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on Psychomotor and Visual Perception Functions Related to Driving Skills. In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 12, 16
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Objective: It could be demonstrated that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) enhances accuracy in working memory tasks and reaction time in healthy adults and thus may also have an influence on complex everyday tasks like driving a car. However, no studies have applied tDCS to psychomotor skills related to a standard driving test so far. Methods: 10 female and 5 male healthy adults without any medication and history of psychiatric or neurological illness were randomly assigned to two groups receiving active and sham stimulation in a double blind, cross-over study design. Standardized computerized psychomotor tests according to the German guidelines for road and traffic safety were administered at baseline. Then they performed the same tests during an anodal or sham tDCS of the left DLPFC in two separated sessions. Results: No significant improvements in skills related to driving performance like visual perception, stress tolerance, concentration, and vigilance could be shown after left anodal prefrontal tDCS. Side effects were low and did not differ between active and sham stimulation. Conclusions: The findings of our study indicate that left prefrontal tDCS may not alter driving skills affording more automated action patterns but as shown in previous studies may have an influence on driving behavior requiring executive control processes. This however has to be proved in future studies and within greater samples.