Improved proper name recall by electrical stimulation of the anterior temporal lobes

Lars A. Ross, David McCoy, David A. Wolk, H. Branch Coslett, Ingrid R. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


People's names have an embarrassing propensity to be forgotten. This problem is exacerbated by normal aging and by some kinds of dementia. As evidence from neuroimaging and neuropsychology suggest that portions of the anterior temporal lobes play a role in proper name retrieval, we hypothesized that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a technique that modulates neural transmission, to the anterior temporal lobes would alter the retrieval of proper names. Fifteen young adults received left anodal, right anodal, or sham stimulation of the anterior temporal lobes while naming pictures of famous individuals and landmarks. Right anterior temporal lobe stimulation significantly improved naming for people but not landmarks. These findings are consistent with the notion that the anterior temporal lobes are critically involved in the retrieval of people's names.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3671-3674
Number of pages4
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Brain stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Memory
  • Neuroscience
  • Person identity
  • Semantic
  • Social cognition
  • TDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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