Is value-based choice repetition susceptible to medial frontal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)? A preregistered study

Ulrike Senftleben, Johanna Kruse, Franziska M. Korb, Stefan Goetz, Stefan Scherbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In value-based decision making, people have to weigh different options based on their subjective value. This process, however, also is influenced by choice biases, such as choice repetition: in a series of choices, people are more likely to repeat their decision than to switch to a different choice. Previously, it was shown that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can affect such choice biases. We applied tDCS over the medial prefrontal cortex to investigate whether tDCS can alter choice repetition in value-based decision making. In a preregistered study, we applied anodal, cathodal, and sham tDCS stimulation to 52 participants. While we found robust choice repetition effects, we did not find support for an effect of tDCS stimulation. We discuss these findings within the larger scope of the tDCS literature and highlight the potential roles of interindividual variability and current density strength.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-762
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number4
Early online date2 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright: The Author(s) 2021. Open Access - This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

This research was partly supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (grant SFB 940/2 2016, projects A6 and A8). Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.


  • Choice repetition
  • Decision making
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation


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