Time course of the inhibitory tagging effect in ongoing emotional processing. A HD-tDCS study

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Victor Martinez-Perez
Alejandro Castillo
Noelia Sanchez-Perez
Vivas A.B.
Guillermo Campoy
Luis J. Fuentes
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When a cueing procedure that usually triggers inhibition of return (IOR) effects is combined with tasks that tap semantic processing, or involve response-based conflict, an inhibitory tagging (IT) emerges that disrupts responses to stimuli at inhibited locations. IT seems to involve the executive prefrontal cortex, mainly the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), in cognitive conflict tasks. Contrary to other inhibitory effects, IT has been observed with rather short intervals, concretely when the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between the prime presented at the cued location, and the subsequent target is 250 ms. Here we asked whether IT is also applied to ongoing emotional processing, and whether the left DLPFC plays a causal role in IT using HD-tDCS. In two experiments with an emotional conflict task, we observed reduced conflict effects, the signature of IT, when the prime word was presented at the cued location, and once again when the prime-target SOA was just 250 ms. Also, the IT effect was eliminated when cathodal stimulation was applied to the left DLPFC. These findings suggest that the IT effect involves areas of the executive attention network and cooperates with IOR to favor attentional allocation to novel unexplored objects/locations, irrespective of their emotional content.
Víctor Martínez-Pérez, Alejandro Castillo, Noelia Sánchez-Pérez, Ana B. Vivas, Guillermo Campoy, Luis J. Fuentes, Time course of the inhibitory tagging effect in ongoing emotional processing. A HD-tDCS study, Neuropsychologia, Volume 135, 2019, 107242, ISSN 0028-3932, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.107242. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028393219302866)