Cerebellar tdcs modulates neural circuits during semantic prediction: A combined tDCS-fMRI study

Anila M. D’Mello, Peter E. Turkeltaub, Catherine J. Stoodley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


It has been proposed that the cerebellum acquires internal models of mental processes that enable prediction, allowing for the optimization of behavior. In language, semantic prediction speeds speech production and comprehension. Right cerebellar lobules VI and VII (including Crus I/II) are engaged during a variety of language processes and are functionally connected with cerebral cortical language networks. Further, right posterolateral cerebellar neuromodulation modifies behavior during predictive language processing. These data are consistent with a role for the cerebellum in semantic processing and semantic prediction. We combined transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and fMRI to assess the behavioral and neural consequences of cerebellar tDCS during a sentence completion task. Task-based and resting-state fMRI data were acquired in healthy human adults (n = 32; μ = 23.1 years) both before and after 20 min of 1.5 mA anodal (n = 18) or sham (n = 14) tDCS applied to the right posterolateral cerebellum. In the sentence completion task, the first four words of the sentence modulated the predictability of the final target word. In some sentences, the preceding context strongly predicted the target word, whereas other sentences were nonpredictive. Completion of predictive sentences increased activation in right Crus I/II of the cerebellum. Relative to sham tDCS, anodal tDCS increased activation in right Crus I/II during semantic prediction and enhanced resting-state functional connectivity between hubs of the reading/language networks. These results are consistent with a role for the right posterolateral cerebellum beyond motor aspects of language, and suggest that cerebellar internal models of linguistic stimuli support semantic prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1604-1613
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 8 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebellum
  • FMRI
  • Language
  • Neuromodulation
  • Prediction
  • TDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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