University of Chicago Big Ideas Generator


Big Question: Improving the Past with Electrical Brain Stimulation

University of Chicago Big Questions

Principal Investigator: David Gallo, Psychology

Funding Type: Seed

Focus Area: Cognition

Big Idea: This project determines the extent that electrical brain stimulation can influence our ability to recollect emotional experiences.  Recent research shows that applying mild transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) to specific regions in prefrontal cortex can temporarily boost people's cognitive abilities. By combining this technique with an emotional memory task, Dr. Gallo will test the hypothesis that electrical brain stimulation can help people selectively retrieve positive memories and inhibit negative memories. He also will test the duration of this effect, or the extent that the induced emotional memory bias will persist even after the brain stimulation session has ended. If successful, this project will provide a new technique for artificially manipulating emotional memories, launching a larger investigation into the neurocognitive mechanisms and practical applications of such memory interventions.

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