Effects of tDCS on the attentional blink revisited: A statistical evaluation of a replication attempt

Leon C. Reteig, Lionel A. Newman, K. Richard Ridderinkhof, Heleen A. Slagter*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

4 Citaten (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


The attentional blink (AB) phenomenon reveals a bottleneck of human information processing: The second of two targets is often missed when they are presented in rapid succession among distractors. In our previous work, we showed that the size of the AB can be changed by applying transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (lDLPFC) (London & Slagter, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 33, 756-68, 2021). Although AB size at the group level remained unchanged, the effects of anodal and cathodal tDCS were negatively correlated: If a given individual's AB size decreased from baseline during anodal tDCS, their AB size would increase during cathodal tDCS, and vice versa. Here, we attempted to replicate this finding. We found no group effects of tDCS, as in the original study, but we no longer found a significant negative correlation. We present a series of statistical measures of replication success, all of which confirm that both studies are not in agreement. First, the correlation here is significantly smaller than a conservative estimate of the original correlation. Second, the difference between the correlations is greater than expected due to sampling error, and our data are more consistent with a zero-effect than with the original estimate. Finally, the overall effect when combining both studies is small and not significant. Our findings thus indicate that the effects of lDPLFC-tDCS on the AB are less substantial than observed in our initial study. Although this should be quite a common scenario, null findings can be difficult to interpret and are still under-represented in the brain stimulation and cognitive neuroscience literatures. An important auxiliary goal of this paper is therefore to provide a tutorial for other researchers, to maximize the evidential value from null findings.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's23
TijdschriftPLoS ONE
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 27-jan.-2022

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