tDCS modulation of visually induced analgesia

Flavia Mancini, Nadia Bolognini, Patrick Haggard, Giuseppe Vallar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multisensory interactions can produce analgesic effects. In particular, viewing ones own body reduces pain levels, perhaps because of changes in connectivity between visual areas specialized for body representation, and sensory areas underlying pain perception. We tested the causal role of the extrastriate visual cortex in triggering visually induced analgesia bymodulating the excitability of this region with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Anodal, cathodal, or sham tDCS (2 mA, 10min) was administered to 24 healthy participants over the right occipital or over the centro-parietal areas thought to be involved in the sensory processing of pain. Participants were required to rate the intensity of painful electrical stimuli while viewing either their left hand or an object occluding the left hand, both before and immediately after tDCS. We found that the analgesic effect of viewing the body was enhanced selectively by anodal stimulation of the occipital cortex. The effect was specific for the polarity and the site of stimulation. The present results indicate that visually induced analgesia may depend on neural signals from the extrastriate visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2419-2427
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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