tDCS Electrode Placement Montages [printfriendly]
When using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), the placement of electrodes is very important as different placements will produce different results. This list of tDCS montages is currently the largest database of tDCS electrode placements on the internet. Each montage below includes a graphical representation of where to place the electrodes, a description of the results to expect, other uses for the montage, and links to specific scientific studies which focus on the montage. We are actively researching new and interesting montages to add to this list, and each montage is vetted to ensure there is proper scientific backing.
We also suggest taking a look at:
Anode: Left DLPFC [F3)
Cathode: Right Supraorbital (FP2)
Study Results: Improved Mood, Reduced Depression
Other Uses: Reduced Anxiety
Notes: This electrode placement is the most widely studied tDCS montage shown to produce mood improvement, most notably in those individuals suffering with depression. Furthermore, this montage has been shown to alleviate symptoms in certain cases of severe treatment-resistant depression, Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Anode: Right Temple [F10)
Cathode: Left Shoulder
Study Results: Accelerated Learning (DARPA Montage)
Other Uses: New Skill Acquisition, Increased Focus, Accelerated Learning
Notes: The US Military has showed that tDCS can increase focus and learning speeds by up to 2x the average. Academic settings have replicated these studies with the same results, doubling learning speeds in students. The vast evidence supports the notion that tDCS can accelerate learning and enhance performance in a range of complex cognitive tasks.
Anode: Supraorbital [FP1)
Cathode: Supraorbital [FP2]
Study Results: Improving Memorization & Learning
Anode: Left Supraorbital (FP1)
Cathode: Top of Head (CZ), Occipital (OZ)
Study Results: Depression Treatment
Other Uses: Improved Mood
Notes: While the majority of depression related tDCS studies utilize the more popular F3 – FP2 electrode placement, this alternative placement has shown antidepressant potential in certain patients suffering from depression and other related mood disorders.
Study: D. Martin, C. Loo (2014)
Anode: Right DLPFC (F4)
Cathode: Left DLPFC (F3)
Study Results: Reduced Risk Taking
Other uses: Reduced overeating, alcohol & drug addiction, gambling addiction
Notes: Activation of prefrontal cortex by transcranial direct current stimulation reduces appetite for risk during ambiguous decision making.
Anode: Right Mastoid (P10)
Cathode: Right DLPFC (F4)
Study Results: Increased Present Awareness
Other Uses: Increased Impulsiveness
Notes: External modulation of both the left and right DLPFC has been shown to influence driving behavior with Anodal stimulation of the DLPFC resulting in a more careful driving style.
Anode: Right DLPFC (F4)
Cathode: Left DLPFC (F3)
Study Results: Reduced cigarette cravings and other addicting behaviors
Other Uses: Reduced alcohol and Junk food cravings. Some studies using this montage have shown the potential for decreased risk-taking tendencies.
Cumulative priming effects of cortical stimulation on smoking cue-induced craving
A randomized controlled trial of targeted prefrontal cortex modulation with tDCS in patients with alcohol dependence
– OR –
Study Results: Improving Attention
Other Uses: Working Memory Improvement, Complex memory span and ADHD
Notes: Some individuals have shown an increase in selective attention. Selective attention and memory appears to be improved through the use of this montage
Anode: Right Temporal (T4)
Cathode: Left Temporal (T3)
Studies Show: Insight Improvement
Other Uses: Savant Learning, Problem Solving, General Cognitive Enhancement
Notes: It is believed that improvement in insight is obtained through decreasing cortical excitability in the left hemisphere, and increasing cortical excitability in the right hemisphere.
Anode: Right Parietal (P4)
Cathode: Left Parietal (P3)
Study Results: Enhanced Numerical & Mathematic Abilities
Other Uses: Improved Understanding of Mathematics
Notes: Studies have shown that stimulation to the parietal cortex can enhance mathematic ability for up to 6 months. Most affected was material that was learned recently.
Study: Kadosh, Luculano (2010)
Study Results: Improved Audio Processing and General Hearing
Other Uses: Improved Pitch Perception
Notes: Studies noted significant improvement in auditory processing occurring around audio frequencies of 4k Hertz.
Anode: Ipsilesional [C3)
Cathode: Contralesional (C4)
(graphic coming shortly)
Study Results: Improved Motor Recovery in Stroke
Other Uses: Improved Motor Skills, Enhance Motor learning
Notes: The improvement of motor function was significantly greater in the real stimulation group, when compared to the sham group.
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This page is provided for informational purposes only. None of this information should be viewed as suggestive or actionable. Do not view this data as absolute fact. None of the statements on this page have been reviewed or approved by the FDA. Although it is generally believed among researchers that tDCS is safe, it still effects brain function. By using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), you are doing so at your own risk and liability.
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