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Gamma tACS over the temporal lobe increases the occurrence of Eureka! moments

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  • Emiliano Santarnecchi
  • Giulia Sprugnoli
  • Emanuela Bricolo
  • Giulio Costantini
  • Sook-Lei Liew
  • Christian S Musaeus
  • Carola Salvi
  • Alvaro Pascual-Leone
  • Alessandro Rossi
  • Simone Rossi
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The solution to a problem might manifest itself as a burst of unexpected, unpredictable clarity. Such Eureka! events, or Insight moments, are among the most fascinating mysteries of human cognition, whose neurophysiological substrate seems to include a role for oscillatory activity within the α and γ bands in the right parietal and temporal brain regions. We tested this hypothesis on thirty-one healthy participants using transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) to externally amplify α (10 Hz) and γ (40 Hz) activity in the right parietal and temporal lobes, respectively. During γ-tACS over the right temporal lobe, we observed an increase in accuracy on a verbal insight task. Furthermore, electroencephalography (EEG) data revealed an increase in γ spectral power over bilateral temporal lobes after stimulation. Additionally, resting-state functional MRI data acquired before the stimulation session suggested a correlation between behavioral response to right temporal lobe tACS and functional connectivity of bilateral temporal lobes, in line with the bilateral increase in γ band revealed by EEG. Overall, results suggest the possibility of enhancing the probability of generating Eureka! moments in humans by means of frequency-specific noninvasive brain stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)5778
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2019

ID: 58035977