Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the supramarginal gyrus facilitates pitch memory



Functional neuroimaging studies have shown activation of the supramarginal gyrus during pitch memory tasks. A previous transcranial direct current stimulation study using cathodal stimulation over the left supramarginal gyrus reported a detrimental effect on short-term pitch memory performance, indicating an important role of the supramarginal gyrus in pitch memory. The current study aimed to determine whether pitch memory could be improved following anodal stimulation of the left supramarginal gyrus. The performances of non-musicians on two pitch memory tasks (pitch recognition and recall) and a visual memory control task following anodal or sham transcranial direct current stimulation were compared. The results show that, post-stimulation, the anodal group but not the control group performed significantly better on both pitch memory tasks; performance did not differ on the face memory task. These findings provide strong support for the causal involvement of the left supramarginal gyrus in the pitch memory process, and highlight the potential efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation as a tool to improve pitch memory.