Using a variety of tools is a common and essential component of modern human life. Patients with brain damage or neurological disorders frequently have cognitive deficits in their recognition and manipulation of tools. In this study, we focused on improving tool-related cognition using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Converging evidence from neuropsychology, neuroimaging and non- invasive brain stimulation has identified the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) and inferior parietal lobule (IPL) as brain regions supporting action semantics. We observed enhanced performance in tool cognition with anodal tDCS over ATL and IPL in two cognitive tasks that require rapid access to semantic knowledge about the function or manipulation of common tools. ATL stimulation improved access to both function and manipulation knowledge of tools. The effect of IPL stimulation showed a trend toward better manipulation judgments. Our findings support previous studies of tool semantics and provide a novel approach for manipulation of underlying circuits.
Keywords: cognitive enhancement; praxis; semantics; tool use; transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).
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