Transcranial electric stimulation for the investigation of speech perception and comprehension.

11 Apr 2018

Transcranial electric stimulation (tES), comprising transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), involves applying weak electrical current to the scalp, which can be used to modulate membrane potentials and thereby modify neural activity. Critically, behavioural or perceptual consequences of this modulation provide evidence for a causal role of neural activity in the stimulated brain region for the observed outcome. We present tES as a tool for the investigation of which neural responses are necessary for successful speech perception and comprehension. We summarise existing studies, along with challenges that need to be overcome, potential solutions, and future directions. We conclude that, although standardised stimulation parameters still need to be established, tES is a promising tool for revealing the neural basis of speech processing. Future research can use this method to explore the causal role of brain regions and neural processes for the perception and comprehension of speech.