Transcranial direct current stimulation of the motor cortex in waking resting state induces motor imagery

Jana Speth (Lead / Corresponding author), Clemens Speth, Trevor A. Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
323 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates if anodal and cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of areas above the motor cortex (C3) influences spontaneous motor imagery experienced in the waking resting state. A randomized triple-blinded design was used, combining neurophysiological techniques with tools of quantitative mentation report analysis from cognitive linguistics. The results indicate that while spontaneous motor imagery rarely occurs under sham stimulation, general and athletic motor imagery (classified as athletic disciplines), is induced by anodal tDCS. This insight may have implications beyond basic consciousness research. Motor imagery and corresponding motor cortical activation have been shown to benefit later motor performance. Electrophysiological manipulations of motor imagery could in the long run be used for rehabilitative tDCS protocols benefitting temporarily immobile clinical patients who cannot perform specific motor imagery tasks – such as dementia patients, infants with developmental and motor disorders, and coma patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-305
Number of pages17
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Early online date23 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Brain stimulation

  • Motor imagery
  • Motor system
  • tDCS

  • Consciousness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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