Primary Principal InvestigatorNicole McLaughlin
Project EPIC is a research study that is investigating the brain regions responsible for inhibitory control, and whether these regions can be changed using non-invasive brain stimulation.
- Men and women aged 18-24 years.
- No current substance abuse.
- No major medical conditions.
- Ability to travel to Butler Hospital and Brown University for study visits.
- Female participants would be required to rule out and abstain from pregnancy during the study course.
You will be compensated for your time and effort.
What is tDCS?
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a form of non-invasive stimulation used to modulate brain function. Electrodes are placed on the scalp, and mild electrical stimulation is turned on. It is a painless procedure and is usually perceived as tingling or itching sensation locally. Side effects are minimal. Each stimulation session lasts about 20 minutes.
What is inhibitory control?
Inhibitory control is the ability to inhibit or stop yourself from doing things, potentially without regard for negative consequences. Problems with inhibitory control can result in the development of behavioral and psychiatric issues later in life. In contrast, people with strong inhibitory control plan behavior carefully in order to avoid any unanticipated outcomes. Studies suggest that there are specific brain areas responsible for these behavior patterns.
Who can participate?
We are recruiting two groups of participants:
- Those with good impulse control:
These are individuals who do not like to take risks, are reasonably cautious, and carefully think about the possible consequences and outcomes of their future actions. Participants in this group will be required to complete an online survey, a phone screen, an in-person baseline screen, and one MRI.
- Those with difficulties in inhibitory control:
These are individuals who have difficulties with inhibition, or the ability to "stop" themselves from doing things. These individuals may act impulsively, blurt things out in conversation, and/or engage in risk-taking behavior without thinking of the consequences. We are investigating whether tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation), a non-invasive and painless procedure, can be used to change brain function in order to improve self-control and inhibitory skills. Participants in this group will complete an online survey, a phone screen, an in-person baseline screen, and an MRI. They will also receive ten daily sessions (two weeks) of tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation). At the end of the study, they will receive another MRI and be asked to complete a one month follow-up survey online.