Driving a car is a complex task requiring coordinated functioning of distributed brain regions. Controlled and safe driving depends on the integrity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a brain region, which has been shown to mature in late adolescence.
In this study, driving performance of twenty-four male participants was tested in a high-end driving simulator before and after the application of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for 15 minutes over the left or right DLPFC.
We show that external modulation of both, the left and the right, DLPFC directly influences driving behavior. Excitation of the DLPFC (by applying anodal tDCS) leads to a more careful driving style in virtual scenarios without the participants noticing changes in their behavior.
This study is one of the first to prove that external stimulation of a specific brain area can influence a multi-part behavior in a very complex and everyday-life situation, therefore breaking new ground for therapy at a neural level.