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Non-invasive induction of plasticity in the human cortex: uses and limitations

Vallence, A.M. and Ridding, M.C. (2014) Non-invasive induction of plasticity in the human cortex: uses and limitations. Cortex, 58 (September). pp. 261-71.

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The last couple of decades have seen the development of a number of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques that are capable of inducing short-lasting plasticity in the human cortex. Importantly, the induction of lasting plastic changes can, under some conditions, reversibly modify behaviour and interact with learning. These techniques have provided novel opportunities to study human cortical plasticity and examine the role of cortical regions in behaviour. In this review we briefly summarise current NIBS techniques, outline approaches to characterise and quantify cortical plastic change, and describe mechanisms that are implicated in the induced plastic changes. We then outline the areas in which these techniques might be useful, namely, investigating the mechanisms of human cortical plasticity, the characterisation of influences on plasticity, and the investigation of the role of cortical regions in behaviour. Finally, we conclude by highlighting some current limitations of the techniques and suggest that further development of the current NIBS paradigms and more focussed targeting should further enhance the utility of these powerful non-invasive techniques for the investigation of the cortical plasticity and pathophysiology.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: Elsevier
Notes: Available online 24 December 2013
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