Gian Luca Romani

Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara, Chieta, Abruzzo, Italy

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Publications (395)1357.31 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: When measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the resting state (R-fMRI), spontaneous activity is correlated between brain regions that are anatomically and functionally related. Learning and/or task performance can induce modulation of the resting synchronization between brain regions. Moreover, at the neuronal level spontaneous brain activity can replay patterns evoked by a previously presented stimulus. Here we test whether visual learning/task performance can induce a change in the patterns of coded information in R-fMRI signals consistent with a role of spontaneous activity in representing task-relevant information. Human subjects underwent R-fMRI before and after perceptual learning on a novel visual shape orientation discrimination task. Task-evoked fMRI patterns to trained versus novel stimuli were recorded after learning was completed, and before the second R-fMRI session. Using multivariate pattern analysis on task-evoked signals, we found patterns in several cortical regions, as follows: visual cortex, V3/V3A/V7; within the default mode network, precuneus, and inferior parietal lobule; and, within the dorsal attention network, intraparietal sulcus, which discriminated between trained and novel visual stimuli. The accuracy of classification was strongly correlated with behavioral performance. Next, we measured multivariate patterns in R-fMRI signals before and after learning. The frequency and similarity of resting states representing the task/visual stimuli states increased post-learning in the same cortical regions recruited by the task. These findings support a representational role of spontaneous brain activity. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/359786-13$15.00/0.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 07/2015; 35(27):9786-98. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3920-14.2015 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fundamental problems in neuroscience today are understanding how patterns of ongoing spontaneous activity are modified by task performance and whether/how these intrinsic patterns influence task-evoked activation and behavior. We examined these questions by comparing instantaneous functional connectivity (IFC) and directed functional connectivity (DFC) changes in two networks that are strongly correlated and segregated at rest: the visual (VIS) network and the dorsal attention network (DAN). We measured how IFC and DFC during a visuospatial attention task, which requires dynamic selective rerouting of visual information across hemispheres, changed with respect to rest. During the attention task, the two networks remained relatively segregated, and their general pattern of within-network correlation was maintained. However, attention induced a decrease of correlation in the VIS network and an increase of the DAN→VIS IFC and DFC, especially in a top-down direction. In contrast, within the DAN, IFC was not modified by attention, whereas DFC was enhanced. Importantly, IFC modulations were behaviorally relevant. We conclude that a stable backbone of within-network functional connectivity topography remains in place when transitioning between resting wakefulness and attention selection. However, relative decrease of correlation of ongoing "idling" activity in visual cortex and synchronization between frontoparietal and visual cortex were behaviorally relevant, indicating that modulations of resting activity patterns are important for task performance. Higher order resting connectivity in the DAN was relatively unaffected during attention, potentially indicating a role for simultaneous ongoing activity as a "prior" for attention selection.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2015; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1415439112 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Athletes such as skaters or surfers maintain their balance on very unstable platforms. Remarkably, the most skilled athletes seem to execute these feats almost effortlessly. However, the dynamics that lead to the acquisition of a defined and efficient postural strategy are incompletely known. To understand the posture reorganization process due to learning and expertise, we trained twelve participants in a demanding balance/posture maintenance task for 4 months and measured their muscular activity before and after a (predictable) disturbance cued by an auditory signal. The balance training determined significant delays in the latency of participants' muscular activity: from largely anticipatory muscular activity (prior to training) to a mixed anticipatory-compensatory control strategy (after training). After training, the onset of activation was delayed for all muscles, and the sequence of activation systematically reflected the muscle position in the body from top to bottom: neck/upper body muscles were recruited first and in an anticipatory fashion, whereas leg muscles were recruited after the disturbance onset, producing compensatory adjustments. The resulting control strategy includes a mixture of anticipatory and compensatory postural adjustments, with a systematic sequence of muscular activation reflecting the different demands of neck and leg muscles. Our results suggest that subjects learned the precise timing of the disturbance onset and used this information to deploy postural adjustments just-in-time and to transfer at least part of the control of posture from anticipatory to less-demanding feedback-based strategies. In turn, this strategy shift increases the cost-efficiency of muscular activity, which is a key signature of skilled performance.
    Experimental Brain Research 04/2015; 233(7). DOI:10.1007/s00221-015-4281-1 · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) tend to misinterpret innocuous stimuli as potential threats, possibly due to a conditioning provoked by traumatic episodes. Previous neuroimaging evidence has shown an abnormal activation of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex in PTSD patients during fear conditioning and extinction. Nevertheless, the effects of a single-type adverse stressor on that circuit remain poorly explored. We tested the hypothesis that a single-type adverse episode is able to affect the prefrontal cortex and amygdala response to conditioned stimuli. To test this hypothesis, fMRI recordings were performed in PTSD patients and trauma-exposed controls during the observation of neutral and negative paired or non-paired pictures with an adverse stimulus by means of a single association. Results showed that left amygdala activation during negative reinforced stimuli was correlated with the score of PTSD clinical scale across all subjects. Furthermore, in the traumatized non-PTSD group, the activation of the dorso-medial prefrontal cortex and bilateral amygdala was lower during the observation of the reinforced (CS(+)) vs non-reinforced pictures (CS(-)) in response to emotionally negative stimuli. This was not the case in the PTSD patients. These results suggest that in PTSD patients, a single-episode conditioning unveils the failure of an inhibitory mechanism moderating the activity of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala in response to adverse and neutral stimuli. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Brain research bulletin 03/2015; 114. DOI:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2015.03.001 · 2.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorder type I (BD-I) is characterized by a severe impairment in emotional processing during both acute and euthymic phases of the illness. Aim of the present study was to investigate negative emotion processing in both euthymic patients and non-affected first-degree relatives, looking for state and trait markers of BD-I. Methods: 22 healthy relatives of BD-I patients (mean age 31.5 ± 7.3 years; 15 females), 23 euthymic BD-I patients (mean age 35.2 ± 7.9 years; 14 females), and 24 matched controls (mean age 32.5 ± 6.2 years; 16 females) performed a IAPS-based emotional task during 1.5T FMRI. They were required to identify vegetable items (targets) inside neutral or negative pictures. Results: euthymic BD-I patients showed a significant reduced accuracy in target detection during both neutral and negative images presentation, whereas first-degree relatives performed similarly to normal comparisons. We found a reduced activation of Left precuneus during negative images condition in the patients only. By contrast, both patients and relatives hyperactivated the Left insula and hypoactivated the right supramarginal gyrus with respect to controls. Moreover, relatives showed an increased activation of Right lingual gyrus and lower activation of pre-supplementary motor area and Right superior frontal gyrus. Conclusions: during a negative emotion task, euthymic BD-I patients and non-affected first-degree relatives shared an abnormal activation of a limbic area (Left insula) coupled with a reduced activation of a parietal region (Right supramarginal gyrus), thus suggesting a trait-like anomalous processing of affective contents. On the other hand, functional abnormalities found only in unaffected relatives and not in patients and controls may correspond to resilience factors. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 02/2015; 60. DOI:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.01.016 · 4.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spatial patterns of coherent activity across different brain areas have been identified during the resting-state fluctuations of the brain. However, recent studies indicate that resting-state activity is not stationary, but shows complex temporal dynamics. We were interested in the spatiotemporal dynamics of the phase interactions among resting-state fMRI BOLD signals from human subjects. We found that the global phase synchrony of the BOLD signals evolves on a characteristic ultra-slow (<0.01Hz) time scale, and that its temporal variations reflect the transient formation and dissolution of multiple communities of synchronized brain regions. Synchronized communities reoccurred intermittently in time and across scanning sessions. We found that the synchronization communities relate to previously defined functional networks known to be engaged in sensory-motor or cognitive function, called resting-state networks (RSNs), including the default mode network, the somato-motor network, the visual network, the auditory network, the cognitive control networks, the self-referential network, and combinations of these and other RSNs. We studied the mechanism originating the observed spatiotemporal synchronization dynamics by using a network model of phase oscillators connected through the brain's anatomical connectivity estimated using diffusion imaging human data. The model consistently approximates the temporal and spatial synchronization patterns of the empirical data, and reveals that multiple clusters that transiently synchronize and desynchronize emerge from the complex topology of anatomical connections, provided that oscillators are heterogeneous.
    PLoS Computational Biology 02/2015; 11(2):e1004100. DOI:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004100 · 4.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To progress toward understanding of the mechanisms underlying the functional organization of the human brain, either a bottom-up or a top-down approach may be adopted. The former starts from the study of the detailed functioning of a small number of neuronal assemblies, while the latter tries to decode brain functioning by considering the brain as a whole. This review discusses the top-down approach and the use of magnetoencephalography (MEG) to describe global brain properties. The main idea behind this approach is that the concurrence of several areas is required for the brain to instantiate a specific behavior/functioning. A central issue is therefore the study of brain functional connectivity and the concept of brain networks as ensembles of distant brain areas that preferentially exchange information. Importantly, the human brain is a dynamic device, and MEG is ideally suited to investigate phenomena on behaviorally relevant timescales, also offering the possibility of capturing behaviorally-related brain connectivity dynamics.
    Functional neurology 01/2015; 29(4):1-13. · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), we have recently shown a functional anatomical distinction in human parietal cortex between regions involved in maintaining attention to a location [ventral intraparietal sulcus (vIPS)] and a region involved in shifting attention between locations [medial superior parietal lobule (mSPL)]. In particular, while rTMS interference over vIPS impaired target discrimination at contralateral attended locations, interference over mSPL affected performance following shifts of attention regardless of the visual field (Capotosto et al., 2013). Here, using rTMS interference in conjunction with EEG recordings of brain rhythms during the presentation of cues that indicate to either shift or maintain spatial attention, we tested whether this functional anatomical segregation involves different mechanisms of rhythm synchronization. The transient inactivation of vIPS reduced the amplitude of the expected parieto-occipital low-α (8-10 Hz) desynchronization contralateral to the cued location. Conversely, the transient inactivation of mSPL, compared with vIPS, reduced the high-α (10-12 Hz) desynchronization induced by shifting attention into both visual fields. Furthermore, rTMS induced a frequency-specific delay of task-related modulation of brain rhythms. Specifically, rTMS over vIPS or mSPL during maintenance (stay cues) or shifting (shift cues) of spatial attention, respectively, caused a delay of α parieto-occipital desynchronization. Moreover, rTMS over vIPS during stay cues caused a delay of δ (2-4 Hz) frontocentral synchronization. These findings further support the anatomo-functional subdivision of the dorsal attention network in subsystems devoted to shifting or maintaining covert visuospatial attention and indicate that these mechanisms operate in different frequency channels linking frontal to parieto-occipital visual regions. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/350721-10$15.00/0.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 01/2015; 35(2):721-30. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2066-14.2015 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pointing is a communicative gesture, commonly used for expressing two main intentions: imperative, to obtain a desired object/action from the other, or declarative, to share attention/interest about a referent with the other. Previous neuroimaging research on adults examined pointing almost exclusively as a reaching-like motor act rather than as a communicative gesture. Here, we used fMRI to record brain activity while 16 participants produced either imperative or declarative pointing gestures within a communicative context. A network of regions (the bilateral ventral premotor cortex, anterior midcingulate cortex, middle insula and the right preSMA) showed a preference for the production of declarative pointing as opposed to imperative pointing. The right preSMA also preferred declarative intention during pointing observation. Instead, independently from the intention, the right pMTG was more active during pointing observation than production. In the bilateral posterior Parietal Reach Region we also observed a side (contra>ipsi) effect when the intention was imperative, regardless of the subject's role in the communication. Based on these results, we propose that pointing with declarative intention recruits a network of regions associated with will, motivation, emotional/affective expression and intersubjectivity, whereas pointing with imperative intention grounds on regions associated with reaching. The proposal is consistent with the developmental hypothesis that declarative pointing reflects social cognitive abilities more than imperative pointing and establishes a stimulating link for future interdisciplinary research. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 01/2015; 109. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.12.064 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Several components of social cognition are compromised in schizophrenia (SCZ) from the early stage of the illness. In this study we first investigated whether mirror neuron-driven embodied simulation (mnES) is altered in first-episode SCZ. Second, we tested whether emotional cues impact on the mnES in SCZ patients. Methods: Twenty-two SCZ patients and 22 healthy controls (HCs) observed goal-related actions in either a neutral or emotional context during functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning. Results: Observation of neutral action elicited a lower activity in the frontoparietal network in SCZ patients, as compared to HCs. Particularly, activation in the left inferior parietal lobule in response to the same condition negatively correlated with patients' self-experience disturbances. Moreover, observation of an action performed by an angry agent produced poorer neural activity in the right anterior insula in SCZ patients as compared to HCs. This difference was mostly due to the negative β-values shown by SCZ patients, which positively correlated with their empathy scores. No differences were found contingent upon the observation of an action performed by a happy agent. Conclusion: Our results show that emotional cues allow SCZ patients to partially recover mnES. However, their understanding of the emotional components of the actions of others will likely remain deficient. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Psychopathology 09/2014; DOI:10.1159/000366133 · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several neuroimaging studies reported that a common set of regions are recruited during action observation and execution and it has been proposed that the modulation of the μ rhythm, in terms of oscillations in the alpha and beta bands might represent the electrophysiological correlate of the underlying brain mechanisms. However, the specific functional role of these bands within the μ rhythm is still unclear. Here, we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to analyze the spectral and temporal properties of the alpha and beta bands in healthy subjects during an action observation and execution task. We associated the modulation of the alpha and beta power to a broad action observation network comprising several parieto-frontal areas previously detected in fMRI studies. Of note, we observed a dissociation between alpha and beta bands with a slow-down of beta oscillations compared to alpha during action observation. We hypothesize that this segregation is linked to a different sequence of information processing and we interpret these modulations in terms of internal models (forward and inverse). In fact, these processes showed opposite temporal sequences of occurrence: anterior-posterior during action (both in alpha and beta bands) and roughly posterior-anterior during observation (in the alpha band). The observed differentiation between alpha and beta suggests that these two bands might pursue different functions in the action observation and execution processes.
    NeuroImage 08/2014; 102. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.08.031 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Psychogenic erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as a male sexual dysfunction characterized by a persistent or recurrent inability to attain adequate penile erection due predominantly or exclusively to psychological or interpersonal factors. Previous fMRI studies were based on the common occurrence in the male sexual behaviour represented by the sexual arousal and penile erection related to viewing of erotic movies. However, there is no experimental evidence of altered brain networks in psychogenic ED patients (EDp). Some studies showed that fMRI activity collected during non sexual movie viewing can be analyzed in a reliable manner with independent component analysis (ICA) and that the resulting brain networks are consistent with previous resting state neuroimaging studies. In the present study, we investigated the modification of the brain networks in EDp compared to healthy controls (HC), using whole-brain fMRI during free viewing of an erotic video clip. Sixteen EDp and nineteen HC were recruited after RigiScan evaluation, psychiatric, and general medical evaluations. The performed ICA showed that visual network (VN), default-mode network (DMN), fronto-parietal network (FPN) and salience network (SN) were spatially consistent across EDp and HC. However, between-group differences in functional connectivity were observed in the DMN and in the SN. In the DMN, EDp showed decreased connectivity values in the inferior parietal lobes, posterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex, whereas in the SN decreased and increased connectivity was observed in the right insula and in the anterior cingulate cortex respectively. The decreased levels of intrinsic functional connectivity principally involved the subsystem of DMN relevant for the self relevant mental simulation that concerns remembering of past experiences, thinking to the future and conceiving the viewpoint of the other's actions. Moreover, the between group differences in the SN nodes suggested a decreased recognition of autonomical and sexual arousal changes in EDp.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105336. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105336 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    Dataset: IR GUILT
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    ABSTRACT: The spontaneous activity of the brain shows different features at different scales. On one hand, neuroimaging studies show that long-range correlations are highly structured in spatiotemporal patterns, known as resting-state networks, on the other hand, neurophysiological reports show that short-range correlations between neighboring neurons are low, despite a large amount of shared presynaptic inputs. Different dynamical mechanisms of local decorrelation have been proposed, among which is feedback inhibition. Here, we investigated the effect of locally regulating the feedback inhibition on the global dynamics of a large-scale brain model, in which the long-range connections are given by diffusion imaging data of human subjects. We used simulations and analytical methods to show that locally constraining the feedback inhibition to compensate for the excess of long-range excitatory connectivity, to preserve the asynchronous state, crucially changes the characteristics of the emergent resting and evoked activity. First, it significantly improves the model's prediction of the empirical human functional connectivity. Second, relaxing this constraint leads to an unrealistic network evoked activity, with systematic coactivation of cortical areas which are components of the default-mode network, whereas regulation of feedback inhibition prevents this. Finally, information theoretic analysis shows that regulation of the local feedback inhibition increases both the entropy and the Fisher information of the network evoked responses. Hence, it enhances the information capacity and the discrimination accuracy of the global network. In conclusion, the local excitation-inhibition ratio impacts the structure of the spontaneous activity and the information transmission at the large-scale brain level.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 06/2014; 34(23):7886-7898. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5068-13.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Anticipating sensorimotor events allows adaptive reactions to environment with crucial implications for self-protection and survival. Here we review several studies of our group that aimed to test the hypothesis that the cortical processes preparing the elaboration of sensorimotor interaction is reflected by the reduction of anticipatory electroencephalographic alpha power (about 8-12Hz; event-related desynchronization, ERD), as an index that regulate task-specific sensorimotor processes, accounted by high-alpha sub-band (10-12Hz), rather than a general tonic alertness, accounted by low-alpha sub-band (8-10Hz). In this line, we propose a model for human cortical processes anticipating warned sensorimotor interactions. Overall, we reported a stronger high-alpha ERD before painful than non-painful somatosensory stimuli that is also predictive of the subjective evaluation of pain intensity. Furthermore, we showed that anticipatory high-alpha ERD increased before sensorimotor interactions between non-painful or painful stimuli and motor demands involving opposite hands. In contrast, sensorimotor interactions between painful somatosensory and sensorimotor demands involving the same hand decreased anticipatory high-alpha ERD, due to a sort of sensorimotor "gating" effect. In conclusion, we suggest that anticipatory cortical high-alpha rhythms reflect the central interference and/or integration of ascending (sensory) and descending (motor) signals relative to one or two hands before non-painful and painful sensorimotor interactions.
    Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 05/2014; 125(10). DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2014.04.021 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies on perceptual decision-making have often emphasized a tight link between decisions and motor intentions. Human decisions, however, also depend on memories or experiences that are not closely tied to specific motor responses. Recent neuroimaging findings have suggested that, during episodic retrieval, parietal activity reflects the accumulation of evidence for memory decisions. It is currently unknown, however, whether these evidence accumulation signals are functionally linked to signals for motor intentions coded in frontoparietal regions and whether activity in the putative memory accumulator tracks the amount of evidence for only previous experience, as reflected in "old" reports, or for both old and new decisions, as reflected in the accuracy of memory judgments. Here, human participants used saccadic-eye and hand-pointing movements to report recognition judgments on pictures defined by different degrees of evidence for old or new decisions. A set of cortical regions, including the middle intraparietal sulcus, showed a monotonic variation of the fMRI BOLD signal that scaled with perceived memory strength (older > newer), compatible with an asymmetrical memory accumulator. Another set, including the hippocampus and the angular gyrus, showed a nonmonotonic response profile tracking memory accuracy (higher > lower evidence), compatible with a symmetrical accumulator. In contrast, eye and hand effector-specific regions in frontoparietal cortex tracked motor intentions but were not modulated by the amount of evidence for the effector outcome. We conclude that item recognition decisions are supported by a combination of symmetrical and asymmetrical accumulation signals largely segregated from motor intentions.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 05/2014; 34(20):6993-7006. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3911-13.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Anterior temporal lobectomy is an effective treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy of temporal origin, although new language impairment may develop after surgery. Since correlations between functional connectivity (FC) MRI of the language network and verbal-IQ performance before surgery have recently been reported, we investigated the existence of correlations between the preoperative FC of the language network and post-operative verbal-IQ decline. FC between nodes of the language network of the two hemispheres (Interhemispheric-FC) and within nodes of the left hemisphere (LH-FC) and language lateralization indexes were estimated in five right-handed patients with non-tumoral left temporal lobe epilepsy undergoing anterior temporal lobectomy. Correlations between preoperative FC measures and lateralization indexes, and the post-operative (12 months) neuropsychological verbal-IQ decline were investigated. Verbal-IQ decline was inversely correlated with the degree of left lateralization and directly correlated with the strength of Interhemispheric-FC. No significant correlation was found between LH-FC and post-operative verbal-IQ change. The results from this limited number of patients suggest that a stronger preoperative connectivity between homologue regions, associated with the absence of a definite hemispheric lateralization, appears to be an unfavorable prognostic biomarker.
    04/2014; 27(2):158-62. DOI:10.15274/NRJ-2014-10031
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    ABSTRACT: In the literature concerning the study of emotional effect on cognition, several researches highlight the mechanisms of reasoning ability and the influence of emotions on this ability. However, up to now, no neuroimaging study was specifically devised to directly compare the influence on reasoning performance of visual task-unrelated with semantic task-related emotional information. In the present functional fMRI study, we devised a novel paradigm in which emotionally negative vs. neutral visual stimuli (context) were used as primes, followed by syllogisms composed of propositions with emotionally negative vs. neutral contents respectively. Participants, in the MR scanner, were asked to assess the logical validity of the syllogisms. We have therefore manipulated the emotional state and arousal induced by the visual prime as well as the emotional interference exerted by the syllogism content. fMRI data indicated a medial prefrontal cortex deactivation and lateral/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation in conditions with negative context. Furthermore, a lateral/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex modulation caused by syllogism content was observed. Finally, behavioral data confirmed the influence of emotional task-related stimuli on reasoning ability, since the performance was worse in conditions with syllogisms involving negative emotions. Therefore, on the basis of these data, we conclude that emotional states can impair the performance in reasoning tasks by means of the delayed general reactivity, whereas the emotional content of the target may require a larger amount of top-down resources to be processed.
    Brain and Cognition 04/2014; 87:153–160. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the literature concerning the study of emotional effect on cognition, several researches highlight the mechanisms of reasoning ability and the influence of emotions on this ability. However, up to now, no neuroimaging study was specifically devised to directly compare the influence on reasoning performance of visual task-unrelated with semantic task-related emotional information. In the present functional fMRI study, we devised a novel paradigm in which emotionally negative vs. neutral visual stimuli (context) were used as primes, followed by syllogisms composed of propositions with emotionally negative vs. neutral contents respectively. Participants, in the MR scanner, were asked to assess the logical validity of the syllogisms. We have therefore manipulated the emotional state and arousal induced by the visual prime as well as the emotional interference exerted by the syllogism content. fMRI data indicated a medial prefrontal cortex deactivation and lateral/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation in conditions with negative context. Furthermore, a lateral/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex modulation caused by syllogism content was observed. Finally, behavioral data confirmed the influence of emotional task-related stimuli on reasoning ability, since the performance was worse in conditions with syllogisms involving negative emotions. Therefore, on the basis of these data, we conclude that emotional states can impair the performance in reasoning tasks by means of the delayed general reactivity, whereas the emotional content of the target may require a larger amount of top-down resources to be processed.
    Brain and Cognition 04/2014; 87C(1):153-160. DOI:10.1016/j.bandc.2014.03.017 · 2.68 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

8k Citations
1,357.31 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1989–2015
    • Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara
      • • Department of Neuroscience & Imaging
      • • Institute for Advanced Biomedical Technologies ITAB
      Chieta, Abruzzo, Italy
  • 2013
    • Università degli studi di Parma
      • Department of Neurosciences
      Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2007
    • University of Tuebingen
      • Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1989–2007
    • The American University of Rome
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2000–2006
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • Department of Physiology and Pharmacology "Vittorio Erspamer"
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1996–2003
    • Universität Ulm
      Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1983–2000
    • National Research Council
      • • Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies ISTC
      • • Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies IFN
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1998
    • IRCCS Centro San Giovanni di Dio, Fatebenefratelli, Brescia
      • Cognitive Neuroscience Section
      Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1991
    • Freie Universität Berlin
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1990
    • Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc
      • Division of Urology
      Brussels, BRU, Belgium
    • University of Rome Tor Vergata
      • Dipartimento di Fisica
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1987
    • Università Degli Studi Roma Tre
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 1982–1983
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States