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Article

Multisession Anodal tDCS on the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction Improves Mentalizing Processes in Adults with Autistic Traits

1
Instituto Universitario de Neurociencia, Universidad de La Laguna, 38200 La Laguna, Spain
2
Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Europea de Canarias, 38300 La Orotava, Spain
3
Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), 28040 Madrid, Spain
4
Cognitive Neuroscience Center (CNC), Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires B1644BID, Argentina
5
National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Buenos Aires C1033AAJ, Argentina
6
Department of Psychology, University of Milan-Bicocca, Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, 20126 Milan, Italy
7
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Departamento de Psicologia Cognitiva, Social y Organizacional, Campus de Guajara, Universidad de La Laguna, Apartado 456, 38200 La Laguna, Spain.
Academic Editor: Pushpal Desarkar
Brain Sci. 2022, 12(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12010030
Received: 26 October 2021 / Revised: 21 December 2021 / Accepted: 25 December 2021 / Published: 28 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuromodulation of Language, Cognition and Emotion)
Persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have impaired mentalizing skills. In this study, a group of persons with ASD traits (high-AQ scores) initially received sham tDCS before completing a pre-test in two mentalizing tasks: false belief and self-other judgments. Over the next week, on four consecutive days, they received sessions of anodal electrical stimulation (a-tDCS) over the right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ), a region frequently associated with the theory of mind. On the last day, after the stimulation session, they completed a new set of mentalizing tasks. A control group (with low-AQ scores) matched in age, education and intelligence received just sham stimulation and completed the same pre-test and post-test. The results showed that the high-AQ group improved their performance (faster responses), after a-tDCS, in the false belief and in the self-other judgments of mental features, whereas they did not change performance in the false photographs or the self-other judgments of physical features. These selective improvements cannot be attributed to increased familiarity with the tasks, because the performance of the low-AQ control group remained stable about one week later. Therefore, our study provides initial proof that tDCS could be used to improve mentalizing skills in persons with ASD traits. View Full-Text
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; brain stimulation; tDCS; mentalizing skills; theory of mind; false belief; self-other judgments autism spectrum disorder; brain stimulation; tDCS; mentalizing skills; theory of mind; false belief; self-other judgments
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MDPI and ACS Style

Padrón, I.; García-Marco, E.; Moreno, I.; Birba, A.; Silvestri, V.; León, I.; Álvarez, C.; López, J.; de Vega, M. Multisession Anodal tDCS on the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction Improves Mentalizing Processes in Adults with Autistic Traits. Brain Sci. 2022, 12, 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12010030

AMA Style

Padrón I, García-Marco E, Moreno I, Birba A, Silvestri V, León I, Álvarez C, López J, de Vega M. Multisession Anodal tDCS on the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction Improves Mentalizing Processes in Adults with Autistic Traits. Brain Sciences. 2022; 12(1):30. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12010030

Chicago/Turabian Style

Padrón, Iván, Enrique García-Marco, Iván Moreno, Agustina Birba, Valentina Silvestri, Inmaculada León, Carlos Álvarez, Joana López, and Manuel de Vega. 2022. "Multisession Anodal tDCS on the Right Temporo-Parietal Junction Improves Mentalizing Processes in Adults with Autistic Traits" Brain Sciences 12, no. 1: 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12010030

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