Works and Days

Tags


"Psychology"


Reed Winter Externship Reflections 14: Number Eleven, Thompson-Schill Lab at University of Pennsylvania, Caitlyn Hoeflin

There aren’t too many externships where they strap electrodes to your head. Not on the first day, at least.

But here I was, at 11 AM on a Thursday, listening to a cheerful senior rattle off instructions while gently attaching two large rubber pads to my scalp. While this may sound eerily like the start of a ‘50s science fiction movie, I was actually just a participant in a tDCS experiment, a form of neurostimulation in which constant, low-level current is delivered to the brain via small electrodes. tDCS changes the resting potential of neurons, making it harder or easier for them to fire. As a result, it can be used to temporarily increase cognitive ability in areas like memory and language.