The effect of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation on motor sequence learning in healthy individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Fahimeh Hashemirad, Maryam Zoghi, Paul B. Fitzgerald, Shapour Jaberzadeh

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48 Citations (Scopus)


A large number of studies have indicated the effect of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) on the primary motor cortex (M1) during motor skill training. The effects of a-tDCS on different stages of motor sequence learning are not yet completely understood. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine the effects of single and multiple sessions of a-tDCS on two different tasks: the sequential finger tapping task/serial reaction time task (SEQTAP/SRTT) and the sequential visual isometric pinch task (SVIPT). We searched electronic databases for M1 a-tDCS studies. Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The results indicate that application of multiple sessions of a-tDCS, compared to single session atDCS induced a significant improvement in skill in both SEQTAP/SRTT and SVIPT. Retention after a single day and multiple days of a-tDCS was statistically significant for the SEQTAP/SRTT task but not for SVIPT. Therefore, our findings suggest that application of M1 a-tDCS across the three or five consecutive days can be helpful to improve motor sequence learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBrain and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
  • Primary motor cortex
  • motor sequence learning
  • Corticospinal excitability

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