The influence of low-level, event-related dc-currents during time estimation in humans

Thomas Elbert, Brigitte Rockstroh, Werner Lutzenberger, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two experiments were designed to investigate further the influence of low-level transcephalic DC currents on human reaction time and time perception. Thirty-two subjects participated in the experiments, with the second one a replication of the first. During a first trial series, subjects responded to the offset of a 6 second tone. Simultaneous to tone presentation a current was applied between vertex and collar bone electrodes. Current polarity varied randomly across trials. During a second trial series, subjects interrupted tone and current when they estimated a time interval of same length as the previously experienced had elapsed. In both studies subjects interrupted the tone/current after a shorter interval when the negative pole was applied as compared to vertex-positive trials. Results suggest that a vertex-negative external current suppresses an internally required state, whereas an external positive current supports internal SP-generation. The brain may tend to terminate the former state earlier than the latter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-106
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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