Carlo Umiltà

Carlo Umiltà
University of Padova | UNIPD · Department of General Psychology

Medical Doctor

About

357
Publications
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17,491
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November 1989 - present
University of Padova
Position
  • Professor Emeritus

Publications

Publications (357)
Article
Il contributo narra di come la psicologia moderna, che in larga misura consiste nell'indagare i processi cognitivi e le loro basi neurali, abbia avuto inizio nell'Università di Bologna nella seconda metà degli anni '60 del secolo scorso, grazie all'impulso del prof. Renzo Canestrari. In quegli anni gli interessi scientifici del prof. Canestrari era...
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The Simon effect refers to the fact that, even though stimulus position is task-irrelevant, responses to a task-relevant stimulus dimension are faster and more accurate when the stimulus and response spatially correspond than when they do not. Although the Simon effect is a very robust phenomenon, it is modulated by practice or transfer from previo...
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The Spatial-Numerical Association of Response Codes (SNARC) suggests the existence of an association between number magnitude and response location, with faster left key-press responses to small numbers and faster right key-press responses to large numbers. We investigated whether a similar association exists between musical notes on the stave and...
Chapter
In recent years, a number of disciplines have appeared, which all are characterized by the prefix “neuro” attached to the name of an older and well-established discipline. They can collectively be referred to as the “neuro+” disciplines. Here it is argued that they are not new. In fact, they have existed for many years (at least since the early ’60...
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Many cognitive tasks involve a response conflict between the response selected on the basis of the task-relevant attribute and that primed by an irrelevant attribute. Although response priming has been extensively investigated, we still have little evidence on whether it entails both excitatory and inhibitory processes and the way in which these pr...
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Stroop-like and Simon tasks produce two sources of interference in human information processing. Despite being logically similar, it is still debated whether the conflicts ensuing from the two tasks are resolved by the same or different mechanisms. In the present study, we compare two accounts of the Stroop-like effect. According to the Perceptual...
Article
The Simon effect lies on the automatic generation of a stimulus spatial code, which, however, is not relevant for performing the task. Results typically show faster performance when stimulus and response locations correspond, rather than when they do not. Considering reaction time distributions, two types of Simon effect have been individuated, whi...
Article
Psychology is a «fragmented» discipline (Gaj, 2016). That means that in Italy there is a wide gap between the results achieved through scientific research and the impact they have on the job psychologists actually practice. Research makes advances but its achievements have no influence on the job psychologists are required to practice. No doubt, th...
Article
The concept of stimulus response compatibility (SRC) refers to the existence of a privileged association between a specific stimulus feature and a specific response feature. Two examples of SRC are the Spatial Numerical Association of Response Codes (SNARC) and the Markedness Association of Response Codes (MARC) effects. According to the polarity c...
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The human brain is an extremely complex system of interacting physical and functional units, ranging from single neurons to complex networks. Cognition is a network phenomenon because it does not exist in isolated synapses, neurons, or even brain areas. In spite of that, a great amount of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have ex...
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Full- text available at: https://rdcu.be/6bSj The reversal logical recoding rule (i.e., "respond opposite") induced by an incompatible task (e.g., a task requiring to respond to red or green stimuli by pressing a key of the alternative colour compared to that of the stimulus) can be transferred to another task when the two tasks are combined in a t...
Article
We investigated whether angle magnitude, similarly to numerical quantities (i.e., the spatial-numerical association of response codes effect), is associated to the side of response execution. In addition, we investigated whether this association has the properties of a spatially oriented mental line, since angles are taught in a right-to-left progr...
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Cognitive control has been classically considered as a flexible process engaged to pursue intentional behaviors, as distinct from automatic processes, which are unintentional, inflexible, and triggered by unconscious mechanisms. Our study challenged this view, showing that such a distinction may not be so clear-cut. We analyzed motor-evoked potenti...
Article
In the Simon effect performance is faster and more accurate when the task-irrelevant spatial dimension of the stimulus corresponds to the location of the response, compared to when they do not correspond. In the prosaccade-antisaccade effect the latencies of saccades away from the stimulus location (i.e., antisaccades) are slower than the latencies...
Article
The effects of concurrent working memory load in attentional processes have been 1 of the most puzzling issues in cognitive psychology. Studies have shown detrimental effects, no effects, and even beneficial effects of working memory load in different attentional tasks. In the present study we attempted to replicate Kim, Kim, and Chun's (2005, Expe...
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There is little doubt that cognitive processes involved in perceiving and comparing the duration of the sounds played by a musical instrument are very different from those involved, for instance, in recalling when our latest holidays took place. However, despite their clear difference, we ascribe both processes to the time domain, either in the for...
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In the present study, we investigated whether luminance and the side of response execution are associated, showing a SNARC-like effect (faster responses with the left hand for dark stimuli, and vice versa for light stimuli). A total of 30 participants were tested in two experiments. In Experiment 1, the association between space and the luminance o...
Article
The cognitive impairments shown by brain-damaged patients emphasize the role of task difficulty as a major determinant for performance. We discuss the proposal of Kurzban et al. in light of our findings on right-hemisphere-damaged patients, who show increasing awareness deficits for the contralesional hemispace when engaged with resource-consuming...
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We tested a group of ten post-acute right-hemisphere damaged patients. Patients had no neglect according to paper-and-pencil cancellation tasks. They were administered computer-based single- and dual-tasks, requiring to orally name the position of appearance (e.g. left vs. right) of briefly-presented lateralized targets. Patients omitted a consiste...
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ABSTRACT Considering the variety and scope of actions we perform together with others, it would seem unlikely that the entire range of joint actions can be exhaustively clarified by invoking a single mechanism. Guagnano et al. (2010) extended the field of joint actions by reporting a joint Simon effect with people carrying out separate assignments...
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This review illustrates how, after unilateral brain damage, the presence and severity of spatial awareness deficits for the contralesional hemispace depend greatly on the quantity of attentional resources available for performance. After a brief description of neglect and extinction, different frameworks accounting for spatial and non-spatial atten...
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Deficits of contralesional space awareness (neglect and extinc-tion) often follow right hemisphere damage and are typically attributed to the disruption of neurocognitive mechanisms sub-serving orienting of attention in space (Driver and Vuilleumier, 2001). Neglect affects awareness of contralesional stimuli, whereas extinction affects contralesion...
Article
Topics discussed in this chapter include the following: (1) history; (2) conscious vs nonconscious processing; (3) qualitative differences; (4) functions of consciousness; (5) theories of consciousness; and (6) a privileged brain locus for consciousness? (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Growing experimental evidence suggests that temporal events are represented on a mental time line, spatially oriented from left to right. Support for the spatial representation of time comes mostly from studies that have used spatially organized responses. Moreover, many of these studies did not avoid possible confounds attributable to target stimu...
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Prevalent theories about consciousness propose a causal relation between lack of spatial coding and absence of conscious experience: The failure to code the position of an object is assumed to prevent this object from entering consciousness. This is consistent with influential theories of unilateral neglect following brain damage, according to whic...
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Growing evidence indicates that planning eye movements and orienting visuospatial attention share overlapping brain mechanisms. A tight link between endogenous attention and eye movements is maintained by the premotor theory, in contrast to other accounts that postulate the existence of specific attention mechanisms that modulate the activity of in...
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The stop signal task is widely adopted to assess motor inhibition performance in both clinical and non-clinical populations. Several recent studies explored the influence of strategic approaches to the task. In particular, response slowing seems to be a strategic approach commonly adopted to perform the task. In the present study, we compared a sta...
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Behavioral, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging data support the idea that numbers are represented along a mental number line (MNL), an analogical, visuospatial representation of number magnitude. The MNL is left-to-right oriented in Western cultures, with small numbers on the left and larger numbers on the right. Left neglect patients are impaire...
Article
This article introduces the relationship between mathematical cognition and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The mental number line is located in the parietal lobe. Studies employing TMS have explored issues related to the mental number line. This article reviews the studies centered on the magnitude code. The results show that even though...
Chapter
In Italia, la neuropsicologia ha iniziato a svilupparsi a partire dagli anni’ 60 del secolo scorso, inizialmente con finalità puramente di ricerca, poi anche di diagnosi e riabilitazione dei deficit cognitivi ed emotivo-motivazionali causati da lesioni o disfunzioni cerebrali [1]. Introduzioni alla neuropsicologia sono reperibili nei volumi curati...
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Congenital amusia is a lifelong disorder of music processing that has been ascribed to impaired pitch perception and memory. The present study tested a large group of amusics (n=17) and provided evidence that their pitch deficit affects pitch processing in speech to a lesser extent: Fine-grained pitch discrimination was better in spoken syllables t...
Article
We investigated whether the Simon effect occurs for the depth dimension in a 3-dimensional display. In Experiment 1, participants executed discriminative responses to 2 stimuli, a cross and a sphere, both 3-dimensional, which were perceived to be located near or far with respect to the participant's body. The response keys were located near and far...
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The present study was aimed at investigating the short-term plastic changes that follow word learning at a neurophysiological level. The main hypothesis was that word position (left or right visual field, LVF/RH or RVF/LH) in the initial learning phase would leave a trace that affected, in the subsequent recognition phase, the Recognition Potential...
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Interactions between numbers and space have become a major issue in numerical cognition. Neuropsychological studies suggest that the interactions occur, before response selection, at a spatially organized representation of numbers (the mental number line). Reaction time (RT) studies, on the other hand, usually point to associations between response...
Article
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Attentional orienting and awareness for contralesional hemispace were studied longitudinally in a woman (GB) who suffered a right hemispheric stroke without any motor impairment and who presented normal performance on standard paper-and-pencil tests for neglect but manifested difficulties in everyday life. We aimed to test whether computer-based, d...
Article
Many disciplines have recently emerged, which are all characterized by the prefix “neuro” added to the name of a traditional discipline from the fields of social sciences or humanities. Among them, there is “neuro-economics.” These disciplines are all based on the assumption of modularity. However, modularity is not the only possible way to conceiv...
Article
Neglect patients are not aware of stimuli in the contralesional space. We aimed to simulate neglect-like behaviour in healthy participants, by asking them to orient their visuospatial attention in two conditions: non-hypnotic suggestion and post-hypnotic suggestion. Results showed that directing visuospatial attention to one side of space caused ne...
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Event-related potential (ERP) counterparts of practice effects in multiplication fact retrieval were examined. Participants performed a multiplication verification task after having practiced a specific problem set. Practice was either active (retrieval of solutions to multiplication problems) or passive (reexposure to the same operands plus the co...
Article
Full-text available
Interactions between numbers and space have become a major issue in numerical cognition. Neuropsychological studies suggest that the interactions occur, before response selection, at a spatially organized representation of numbers (the mental number line). Reaction time (RT) studies, on the other hand, usually point to associations between response...
Article
The central role of sensory-motor representations in cognitive functions is almost universally accepted. However, determining the link between motor execution and its sensory counterpart and when, during ontogenesis, this link originates are still under investigation. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether at birth this link is alre...
Article
Neuropsychological deficits are common in various cerebrovascular, neurodegenerative and traumatic pathologies. Neuropsychological rehabilitation refers to a set of interventions that aim to improve a person's ability to perform cognitive tasks by retraining previously learned skills and teaching compensatory strategies. However, today there are so...
Article
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has become a mainstay of cognitive neuroscience, thus facing new challenges due to its widespread application on behaviorally silent areas. In this review we will summarize the main technical and methodological considerations that are necessary when using TMS in cognitive neuroscience, based on a corpus of st...
Article
Neuroeconomics, neuromarketing, neuroaesthetics, and neurotheology are just a few of the novel disciplines that have been inspired by a combination of ancient knowledge together with recent discoveries about how the human brain works. The mass media are full of news items featuring colour photos of the brain, that show us the precise location in wh...
Article
A reduction in congruency effects under working memory (WM) load has been previously described using different attentional paradigms (e.g., Kim, Kim, & Chun, 2005; Smilek, Enns, Eastwood, & Merikle, 2006). One hypothesis is that different types of WM load have different effects on attentional selection, depending on whether a specific memory load d...
Article
Rate and severity of contralesional loss of awareness following stroke is highly variable across patients and assessment methods. We studied whether the degree of impairment for contralesional space awareness depends on the quantity of attentional resources that are available for task performance. A new computer-based paradigm was used to assess vi...
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In 4 experiments, we intermixed trials in which the stimulus color was relevant with trials where participants had to judge the stimulus shape or parity and found that the logical-recoding rule (Hedge & Marsh, 1975) applied to the relevant dimension in a task can generalize to the irrelevant dimension of the other task. The mapping assigned to part...
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Research has shown that gaze cuing of attention is reflected in the modulation of P1 and N1 components of ERPs time-locked to target onset. Studies focusing on cue-locked analyses have produced mixed results. The present study examined ERP reflections of gaze cuing in further detail by recording electric brain activity from the scalp of participant...
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In four experiments, we investigated the time course of attentional focusing. Our main aims were to estimate the time necessary for focusing to take place and the time over which focal attention can be maintained. The use of a pre-cueing procedure allowed us to estimate the time necessary for focusing, excluding the time needed for orienting. The r...
Article
The present work was aimed at investigating whether automatic two-dimensional spatial coding, as indexed by the Simon task, is affected by prior practice with a vertical spatial compatibility task. One group of subjects performed a two-dimensional Simon task in which the vertical Simon effect was absent. The other group practised the vertical dimen...
Article
Tested spatial organization of prelexical representations of words by using spatial compatibility paradigm that produced the Simon effect in 92 Ss (aged 20–26 yrs). In Exps 1–5, Ss discriminated target letters in words or non words, presented vertically or horizontally on the left or the right part of the letter string. Response keys were placed ei...
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We investigated whether learning effects influencing the Simon effect, such as those found when learning involves the spatial stimulus dimension, might be also found when learning tasks involve other nonspatial stimulus features, such as color, shape, and orientation. Experiment 1 focused on mutual influences between Simon tasks based on color and...
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We investigated the influence of hand posture in handedness recognition, while varying the spatial correspondence between stimulus and response in a modified Simon task. Drawings of the left and right hands were displayed either in a back or palm view while participants discriminated stimulus handedness by pressing either a left or right key with t...
Article
Several studies showed a Simon effect when two participants sit close to each other and perform one of the two halves of a two-choice RT task. That is, each participant perform a go-nogo task. A Simon effect emerges, which instead is absent when the same go-nogo tasks are performed individually. Hence the terms were introduced of "social Simon task...
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Evidence on the processes underlying the horizontal and vertical Simon effect is still controversial. The present study uses experimental manipulations to selectively delay the stages of response execution, response selection, and stimulus identification in three experiments. A reduction is observed for both horizontal and vertical Simon effects wh...
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The present study aimed at investigating the processing stage underlying stimulus-stimulus (S-S) congruency effects by examining the relation of a particular type of congruency effect (i.e., the flanker effect) with a stimulus-response (S-R) spatial correspondence effect (i.e., the Simon effect). Experiment 1 used a unilateral flanker task in which...
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Recently, there has been a redirection of research efforts toward the exploration of the role of hemispheric lateralization in determining Simon effect asymmetries. The present study aimed at implementing a connectionist model that simulates the cognitive mechanisms implied by such asymmetries, focusing on the underlying neural structure. A left-la...