The comparative effects of unilateral and bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation on motor learning and motor performance: A systematic review of literature and meta-analysis

Sara Halakoo, Fatemeh Ehsani, Motahareh Hosnian, Maryam Zoghi, Shapour Jaberzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Application of unilateral tDCS (Uni-tDCS) vs. bilateral tDCS (Bi-tDCS) is another important factor that can affect the physiological results of tDCS intervention on motor learning and motor performance. According to the evidence, some studies indicated that motor performance or motor learning are facilitated in healthy individuals by application of the Bi-tDCS more than the Uni-tDCS. On the other hand, some studies showed that there was no significant differences between Uni-tDCS and Bi-tDCS; and both techniques were more effective than sham stimulation. In contrast, the other studies have shown more significant effectiveness of Uni-tDCS than Bi-tDCS on motor performance and motor learning. The aim of this study was to systematically review the studies which investigated the effectiveness of Uni-tDCS and Bi-tDCS intervention on the motor learning and motor performance. The search was performed from databases in the Google Scholar, PubMed, Elsevier, Medline, Ovid and Science Direct with the keywords of motor behavior, motor performance, motor learning, Bi-tDCS or bilateral tDCS, dual tDCS, Uni-tDCS or unilateral tDCS, anodal tDCS and cathodal tDCS from 2000 to 2019. The results indicated that the study population was a key factor in determining study's findings. Data meta-analysis showed that Uni-tDCS was more effective than Bi-tDCS in patients with stroke, while, Bi-tDCS was more effective than Uni-tDCS to improve motor learning and motor performance in healthy individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Anodal tDCS
  • Bilateral tDCS
  • Cathodal tDCS
  • Motor learning
  • Motor performance
  • Unilateral tDCS

Cite this