Combined Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and Cognitive Training and Decision-making (tDCS-CTDM)

  • End date
    Apr 30, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Dr. Najat Khalifa
Updated on 29 April 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


This study aims to (i) assess the effects of combined tDCS and cognitive training on decision-making on a trained task (Iowa Gambling Task; IGT); and (ii) test generalization to a closely related cognitive domain, namely motor impulsivity. It is hypothesized that combined anodal tDCS and cognitive training will result in more advantageous decisions and better impulse control than combined sham tDCS and cognitive training.


Impaired decision-making under conditions of uncertainty and risk has been implicated in maladaptive personality development and violent behaviour. There is a dearth of studies that examined the effects of combined tDCS and cognitive training on decision-making under conditions of uncertainty and risk. It is also unclear if these effects are generalizable to tasks in other domains such as response inhibition (motor impulsivity).

To examine these issues further, a single blind parallel arms randomized controlled trial will be conducted, involving a sample of healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 40. This will entail applying either active or sham tDCS over the anterior frontal cortex (including the vm-PFC) while participants undertake decision-making training using the Iowa Gambling Task. Decision-making will be assessed using the IGT, which is a computerized gambling task used to assess decision-making under conditions of uncertainty and risk. IGT is sensitive to damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), which is considered to play a key role in decision-making. Motor impulsivity will be measured using the Stop Signal Task (SST). The UPPS+P Impulsive Behaviour Scale will be used to index trait impulsivity. The Profile of Mood States will be used to measure state emotion before and after tDCS.

Condition Impulsivity, Decision Making
Treatment Cognitive training, sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03886025
SponsorDr. Najat Khalifa
Last Modified on29 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Consenting volunteers aged between 18 and 40

Exclusion Criteria

Individuals with epilepsy, other neurological conditions and history of significant head injury will be excluded
Individuals with a history of substance misuse, major mental disorder and those receiving psychotropic medication will be also excluded
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