Using transcranial electrical stimulation to enhance cognitive functions in the typical and atypical brain
Transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) includes methods such as transcranial direct current stimulation, transcranial random noise stimulation, and transcranial alternating current stimulation. These methods provide novel ways of enhancing human cognitive abilities for restorative purposes, or for general cognitive enhancement, by modulating neuronal activity. I discuss here the basic principles behind these methods and provide some illustrations of their efficacy in cognitive enhancement in those with typical and atypical brain function. Next, I outline some future directions for research that are have been largely neglected, such as the issue of individual differences, cognitive side effects, the efficacy of TES for use with healthy elderly populations, children with atypical development, and sports. The results observed thus far with TES as well as its future possibilities have significant implications for both basic and translational neuroscience. © 2013 Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien.