- Transcranial direct current stimulation of the right temporoparietal junction impairs third-person perspective taking
- Cognitive Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience
- Volume | Issue number
- 17 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Given the current debates about the precise functional role of the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) in egocentric and exocentric perspective taking, in the present study we manipulated activity in the rTPJ to investigate the effects on a spatial perspective-taking task. Participants engaged in a mental body transformation task, requiring them to mentally rotate their own body to the position of an avatar, while undergoing anodal, cathodal, or sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the rTPJ. As a control task, participants judged the laterality of a stimulus feature with respect to a fixation cross on the screen. For the first half of the experiment (only during online tDCS), a task-selective effect of tDCS was observed, reflected in slower reaction times following anodal than following cathodal and sham tDCS for the mental body transformation task, but not for the control task. The effects of tDCS were most pronounced for stimuli implying a more difficult mental body transformation. No effects of tDCS were observed during the second half of the experiment. The effects of tDCS were most pronounced for participants scoring low on aberrant perceptual beliefs and spiritual transcendence, suggesting a relation between third-person perspective taking and bodily and perceptual experiences. The finding that anodal stimulation of the rTPJ impairs third-person perspective taking indicates a key role of this region in exocentric spatial processing.
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