tDCS Montage Guide

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:


TREATING DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY

tDCS Montage - Improving Mood F3-Fp2

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).

Scientific Publications:

Transcranial direct current stimulation: a promising alternative for the treatment of major depression?

Go-no-go task performance improvement after anodal transcranial DC stimulation of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in major depression

Related: Depression and tDCS – A powerful way to defeat depression


ACCELERATED LEARNING (DARPA MONTAGE)

tDCS DARPA Montage Electrode Positioning F10-Left_Shoulder

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.

Studies: Parasuraman, McKinley (2014)Kruse (2008)

News: RadioLab – 9 Volt Nirvana, Article on DARPA Uses


MEMORIZATION AND LEARNING

tDCS Montage Placement - Anode FP1 Cathode FP2

Anode: Supraorbital [FP1)

Cathode: Supraorbital [FP2]

Study Results: Improving Memorization & Learning


ALTERNATIVE DEPRESSION TREATMENT

depression-treatment-afp1_cozcz-frontdepression-treatment-afp1_cozcz-back

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)


REDUCED RISK TAKING

tDCS Electrode Placement - Reduced Risk Taking - F3-F4 FRONT

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. 

Studies: Fecteau, Fregni (2007)Fecteau, Pascual-Leone (2007)


INCREASED PRESENT AWARENESS

tDCS Placements - Increased Present Awareness - P10_F4

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.  

Study: Beeli, Casutt (2008)Ledoux (1996)


REDUCED ADDICTIVE TENDENCIES

tDCS Electrode Placement - Reduced Risk Taking - F3-F4 FRONT

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.

Studies:
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 – 

Anode: Supraorbital (FP1) or (FP2)

Cathode: Opposite Shoulder

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

Studies:

Enhancement of selective attention by tDCS: Interaction with interference in a Sternberg task(Thomas E. Gladwina, Tess E. den Uyla, Felipe F. Fregnib, Reinout W. Wiersa)
Modulating behavioral inhibition by tDCS combined with cognitive training(Thomas Ditye, Liron Jacobson, Vincent Walsh, Michal Lavidor)

IMPROVED INSIGHT

   tDCS Electrode Placement - Insight Improvement - Anode-T4 Cathode-CT3 anatomical head

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.

Studies: Chi, Snyder (2011)Chi, Snyder (2012)


ENHANCED MATHEMATICAL ABILITIES

tDCS Electrode Placement Increased Mathematical Abilities - P4_P3 - LEFT   Electrode Placements Increased Mathematical Abilities - P4_P3 - RIGHT

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)


IMPROVED PITCH PERCEPTION

Anode: Temporal (T3 or T4)

Cathode: Opposite Shoulder

– OR – 

tDCS electrode montage for improve social interaction Anode F4 Cathode

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.

Studies: Ladeira, Valasec (2011)Mathys, Loui (2010)


IMPROVED MOTOR SKILLS AND LEARNING

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.  

Studies: Lindenberg, Renga (2010)Costa, Brighina (2014), Vines (2006)


tDCS 10-20 system

10:20 Front Head10:20 Left Head
10:20 Back Head

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***Important Note*** 

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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