Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation, which allows for selective inhibition or excitation of neural structures. It has demonstrated some efficacy in the treatment of mood disorders. However, these studies have predominately focused on stimulation of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The cerebellum has an increasingly recognized role in emotional control, affective state, and some psychopathologies. As such, tDCS research into mood modulation needs to expand beyond conventional PFC-focused paradigms. Using a contralateral stimulation electrode placement [anodal left dorsolateral(dl)PFC, cathodal right cerebellum], and a single-blind, repeated-measures design, we initially assessed changes in the mood of healthy participants in response to acute stimulation (n = 44) and three repeated stimulations delivered second-daily (n = 21). In a second experiment, we separately investigated the influence of reversed polarity upon these same measures, in response to acute stimulation (n = 23) and repeated stimulation (n = 11). We observed a systematic elevation of mood in both active conditions following single and repeated tDCS, the latter of which displayed a progressive elevation of mood from baseline. No mood change was noted in response to either single or repeated stimulation in the sham condition. Frontocerebellar tDCS stimulation advantageously influences mood in healthy participants, with an accumulative and potentiated effect following successive stimulations. The possibility that frontocerebellar stimulation may provide a novel therapeutic adjunctive or pre-emptive intervention in stress-related disorders and mood-related psychopathologies should be considered.
- Healthy participants