Cristina Ottaviani

Cristina Ottaviani
Sapienza University of Rome | la sapienza · Department of Psychology

PhD, PsyD

About

146
Publications
43,383
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
3,692
Citations
Citations since 2017
91 Research Items
3014 Citations
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
Additional affiliations
December 2016 - December 2020
Sapienza University of Rome
Position
  • Professor
December 2013 - present
Foundation Santa Lucia
Position
  • Researcher

Publications

Publications (146)
Article
The left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) has been implicated in the regulation of stress-related cognitive processes and physiological responses and is the principal target of noninvasive brain stimulation techniques applied to psychiatric conditions. However, existing studies are mostly correlational and causal evidence on the role of this...
Article
Full-text available
Perseverative cognition (PC) is a transdiagnostic risk factor that characterizes both hypo- motivational (e.g., depression) and hyper-motivational (e.g., addiction) disorders; however, it has been almost exclusively studied within the context of the negative valence systems. The present study aimed to fill this gap by combining laboratory-based, co...
Article
Resting heart rate variability (HRV), a surrogate index of cardiac vagal modulation, is considered a putative biomarker of stress resilience as it reflects the ability to effectively regulate emotions in a changing environment. However, most studies are cross-sectional, precluding longitudinal inferences. The high levels of uncertainty and fear at...
Article
Full-text available
Pavlovian conditioning holds the potential to incentivize environmental cues, leading to approach behavior toward them, even outside our awareness. Animal models suggest that this is particularly true for the so-called sign-tracker (ST) phenotype, which is considered to reflect a predisposition toward developing addiction-related behaviours. Despit...
Article
Deficits in motivational functioning including impairments in reward learning or reward sensitivity are common in psychiatric disorders characterized by anhedonia. Recently, anhedonic symptoms have been exacerbated by the pandemic caused by the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the general population. The present study examined the putative as...
Article
The present study explored the association between perceived social support at work (from coworkers and supervisors), and heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of parasympathetic modulation of the heart which is considered an index of the ability to regulate emotional arousal in tune with environmental demands. To test these associations, we used...
Article
Perseverative cognitions can provoke psychophysiological stress in the absence of an actual stressor and are considered important transdiagnostic vulnerability factors for several (mental) health issues. These stress-related cognitive processes are reflected by both cognitive (assessed by self-reports) and autonomic inflexibility (assessed by heart...
Article
This study explored the relationships between self-esteem level and self-esteem variability at work with parameters of diurnal cortisol rhythm, using intensive longitudinal data collected during two consecutive working days from N = 166 workers. Participants self-reported measures of sex, height, weight, self-esteem, neuroticism, and negative event...
Article
Flexible attention toward relevant positive or negative information depending on specific contextual affective goals underlies resilience and is thought to be modulated by individual differences in motivational self-focuses. In this study, it was tested how promotion and prevention motivational self-focuses modulate context-based affective attentio...
Conference Paper
Background: Intrusive thinking (IT) is a transdiagnostic psychiatric symptom that causes clinically significant distress and impairments in important areas of functioning. Alterations in glutamate and GABA metabolism are posited to be implicated in the pathophysiology of many neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression and generalized anxiety di...
Article
Sleep quality is considered a basic dimension of emotional health. The psychophysiological mechanisms underlying the associations between sleep quality and positive emotions are still largely unknown, yet autonomic regulation may play a role. This study employed a two-day ecological momentary assessment methodology in a sample of young adults to in...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Compassion motivation is associated with increased heart rate variability (HRV), reflecting a calm and self-soothing physiological state. Recent work, however, suggests that this association is dynamic for the specific components of compassion. Objectives: The present study adopted anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS...
Preprint
Full-text available
Neuroimaging studies point to neurostructural abnormalities in youth with anxiety disorders. Yet, findings are based on small-scale studies, often with small effect sizes, and have limited generalizability and clinical relevance. These issues have prompted a paradigm shift in the field towards highly powered (i.e., big data) individual-level infere...
Article
Background According to the perseverative cognition (PC) hypothesis, the repetitive chronic activation of the cognitive representations of stressors are associated with a concomitant prolonged and sustained physiological stress response, including sleep disruption. Purpose We conducted a systematic review and structural equation modeling meta-analy...
Article
An important, yet under-explored area of interpretation bias research concerns the examination of potential physiological correlates and sequalae of this bias. Developing a better understanding of the physiological processes that underpin interpretation biases will extend current theoretical frameworks underlying interpretation bias, as well as opt...
Article
This study aimed to investigate the long-term association between subjective sleep disturbance and depressive symptoms in older adults, and ascertain whether this association is partially mediated by neuro-immune markers, while testing the moderation of sex using conditional process analyses, i.e., combinations of mediation and moderation analyses....
Article
Background: Anxiety related to the dental context is a clinically significant challenge. In children, dental fear is often accompanied by disruptive and uncooperative behaviours that can render treatment difficult. While techniques to reduce children's anxiety exist, many have not been formally evaluated. Design: Diaphragmatic breathing has been...
Article
Full-text available
Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and disabling but seem particularly tractable to investigation with translational neuroscience methodologies. Neuroimaging has informed our understanding of the neurobiology of anxiety disorders, but research has been limited by small sample sizes and low statistical power, as well as heterogenous imaging meth...
Article
Chronic stress has dramatically increased over the last years and is one of the major health concerns of the 21st century. Targeted interventions are traditionally based on inducing cognitive changes and enhancing control with the aim to promote adaptive emotion regulation, ultimately enhancing stress resilience. Crucially, bodily functions have re...
Article
Full-text available
Affect plays a major role in the individual's daily life, driving the sensemaking of experience, psychopathological conditions, social representations of phenomena, and ways of coping with others. The characteristics of affect have been traditionally investigated through physiological, self-report, and behavioral measures. The present article propo...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of this study was to compare brain structure between individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and healthy controls. Previous studies have generated inconsistent findings, possibly due to small sample sizes, or clinical/analytic heterogeneity. To address these concerns, we combined data from 28 research sites worldwide through th...
Article
Full-text available
Global self-esteem represents a protective personal resource lowering the risk of psychological distress. Research conducted in the work setting has confirmed the psychosocial benefits of high self-esteem. However, research linking self-esteem to neurobiological adaptability appears quite scarce. In this study, we propose a theoretical model in whi...
Article
This study examines the change and associations in parental emotion socialization strategies in response to children's negative emotions and youths' adjustment, comparing before the Covid-19 pandemic hit Italy and since the pandemic began. Participants were convenient cross-sectional/normative (Study 1) and clinical/longitudinal (Study 2) samples o...
Article
Full-text available
Theory of mind (ToM) is the human ability to infer the mental states of others in order to understand their behaviors and plan own actions. In the past decades, accumulating evidence has shown that heart rate variability (HRV), an index of parasympathetic control of the heart, is linked to behavioral regulation, social competence, and social cognit...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined whether interacting with a humanoid robot influences children’s gaze aversion, an effortless strategy that people commonly use to facilitate thinking when asked challenging questions. Following the Intentional Stance Model (ISM), we hypothesized that interacting with agents perceived as having a mind would modulate the social re...
Preprint
Full-text available
Due to its ability to reflect the capacity to engage in context-appropriate responses, tonic heart rate variability (HRV) is considered a putative biomarker of stress resilience. However, most studies are cross-sectional, precluding causal inferences. The high levels of uncertainty and fear at a global level that characterize the COVID-19 pandemic...
Article
The study was designed to test the hypothesis that indirect inhibition of the insula via cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) would decrease disgust and moral rigidity in 36 healthy individuals undergoing 15 min of tDCS over the temporal lobe. To obtain a comprehensive assessment of disgust, we used subjective (affect rating), ph...
Article
Full-text available
Perseverative cognition (PC) is a transdiagnostic risk factor that characterizes both hypo-motivational (e.g., depression) and hyper-motivational (e.g., addiction) disorders; however, it has been almost exclusively studied within the context of the negative valence systems. The present study aimed to fill this gap by combining laboratory-based, com...
Article
Full-text available
Background: A paradoxical profile of greater elevated sympathetic vasoconstriction (increased total peripheral resistance, TPR) and increased vagally-mediated heart rate variability (HRV) -the so-called Cardiovascular Conundrum- has been reported in African Americans (AAs) both at rest and in response to orthostasis. Whereas some authors have attri...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies have linked compassion with higher vagally-mediated heart rate variability (vmHRV), a measure of parasympathetic activity, and metanalytic evidence confirmed significant and positive associations. Compassion, however, is not to be confused with soothing positive emotions: in order to engage in actions aimed to alleviate (self or othe...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread increases in mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. The development of these and other psychiatric disorders may be related to changes in immune, endocrine, autonomic, cognitive, and affective processes induced by a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Interestingly, many of these same changes can be...
Article
Full-text available
The healthcare provider profession strongly relies on the ability to care for others' emotional experiences. To what extent burnout may relate to an actual alteration of this key professional ability has been little investigated. In an experimentally controlled setting, we investigated whether subjective experiences of global burnout or burnout dep...
Article
Neurovisceral integration models emphasize the role of frontal lobes in cognitive, behavioral, and emotional regulation. Two candidate hubs for the regulation of cardio-autonomic control, anxiety, and executive attention are the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and middle frontal gyrus (MFG). Two-hundred and seventy-one adults (62.9 % female...
Article
Several labels, such as neuroticism, negative emotionality, and dispositional negativity, indicate a broad dimension of psychopathology. However, largely separate, often disorder-specific research lines have developed that focus on different cognitive and affective characteristics that are associated with this dimension, such as perseverative cogni...
Article
Background Worry increases risk for long-term health issues by prolonging the physiological stress response. In contrast, relaxation may ameliorate the psychological and physiological burden resulting from worry. This study examined the impact of experimentally induced worry and relaxation on cortisol, heart rate variability (HRV), and inflammation...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the association between autonomic nervous system [ANS] function and brain morphology across the lifespan provides important insights into neurovisceral mechanisms underlying health and disease. Resting state ANS activity, indexed by measures of heart rate [HR] and its variability [HRV] has been associated with brain morphology, partic...
Article
Full-text available
In the past decade, evidence has been accumulated on the relationship between im- pulsivity and over-indebtedness. Nevertheless, the magnitude of such association is still considered marginal compared to traditional socio-demographic and economic factors, with the important consequence that impulsivity continues to be ignored in policy intervention...
Article
Full-text available
The ENIGMA group on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (ENIGMA‐Anxiety/GAD) is part of a broader effort to investigate anxiety disorders using imaging and genetic data across multiple sites worldwide. The group is actively conducting a mega‐analysis of a large number of brain structural scans. In this process, the group was confronted with many methodolo...
Article
In recent years, increasing interest has been devoted to the physiological basis of self and other-oriented compassion. Heart rate variability (HRV) represents a promising candidate for such a role, given its association with soothing emotions and context appropriate prefrontal inhibitory control over threat-defensive responses. The aim of this stu...
Article
Emotional inertia is a key feature of emotional dynamics and it refers to the degree to which a current emotional state can be predicted by a previous emotional state. In this study, using the experience sampling method, we examined the relationship between inertia of negative emotions at work and parasympathetic activity, measured by vagally-media...
Preprint
Full-text available
Several labels such as neuroticism, negative emotionality and dispositional negativity indicate a broad dimension of psychopathology. However, largely separate research lines have developed, often disorder-specific, that focus on different cognitive and affective characteristics that are associated with this dimension, such as perseverative cogniti...
Article
Objective: Spontaneous or experimentally induced high blood pressure (BP) is associated with reduced pain perception, known as BP-related hypoalgesia. Despite its clinical implications, such as the interference with early detection of myocardial infarction in ‘at risk’ groups, the size of the association between high BP and pain has not yet been qu...
Preprint
The ENIGMA group on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (ENIGMA-Anxiety/GAD) is part of a broader effort to investigate anxiety disorders using imaging and genetic data across multiple sites worldwide. The group is actively conducting a mega-analysis of a large number of brain structural scans. In this process, the group was confronted with many methodolo...
Article
Full-text available
Rumination, namely a cognitive process characterized by a repetitive thinking focused on negative feelings and thoughts, is a significant predictor for the onset of internalizing symptoms and has also been found to run in families. Rumination has never been studied in children with specific learning disorders (SLD), a population that, due to its co...
Article
Perseverative cognition (i.e. rumination and worry) describes intrusive, uncontrollable, repetitive thoughts. These negative affective experiences are accompanied by physiological arousal, as if the individual were facing an external stressor. Perseverative cognition is a transdiagnostic symptom, yet studies of neural mechanisms are largely restric...
Article
With the rapid rise in robot presence in a variety of life domains, understanding how robots influence people’s emotions during human-robot interactions is important for ensuring their acceptance in society. Mental health care, in particular, is considered the field in which robotics technology will bring the most dramatic changes in the near futur...
Article
Internal Working Models (IWM) of the attachment system are the devices by which individuals modulate emotional responses and the Disorganized attachment pattern is characterized by the breakdown of such emotion regulation. Vagally-mediated heart rate 15 variability (vmHRV) is an index of regulated and flexible emotional responding. The current stud...
Article
The unmyelinated C-tactile afferents system holds a hedonic function in touch experiences, shaping social functioning in the so-called affective touch hypothesis. Despite the fact that females are recognized as more sensitive to discriminative aspects of touch and respond more positively to touch than men, sex differences in the perception of affec...
Article
Pre-sleep cognitive intrusions about next-day activities, or proprioceptive and environmental stimuli are thought to trigger insomnia in neurocognitive models. Recent research showed that intrusive cognitions at bedtime may interact with sleep in influencing next-day emotional functioning; their effects on cognitive functioning, however, is largely...
Article
Several studies have highlighted the role of heart rate variability (HRV) in social engagement and social cognition. However, whether HRV is involved in the ability to remember faces associated with affectively salient behavioural information remains unexplored. The present study aims to close this gap by investigating long-term face-memory accurac...
Poster
The 8th international meeting of the Integrated Brain and Behavior Research Center at the university of Haifa
Poster
Compassion has been defined as "having a sensitivity to suffering in self and others, with a commitment to alleviate and prevent it", and there Is many evidences that compassion training improves general well-being and social relationships . HRV, as a marker of increased emotion regulation, might be considered one of the primary measures when asses...
Article
Prolonged or repeated activation of the stress response can have negative psychological and physical consequences. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is thought to exert an inhibitory influence on the activity of autonomic and neuroendocrine stress response systems. In this study, we further investigated this hypothesis by increasing PFC excitability usin...
Article
Thalamo-cortical connectivity was characterised in a patient with bilateral infarct of the thalami, without evidence of cognitive deficits in everyday life. Patient underwent social and emotional tests, Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), with and without concomitant heart rate variability (HRV) recording and at 3T-MRI to assess thalamo-cortical connectivity...
Article
In Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), fluctuations in ongoing thoughts (i.e., mind-wandering) often take the form of rigid and intrusive perseverative cognition, such as worry. Here, we sought to characterise the neural correlates of mind-wandering and perseverative cognition, alongside autonomic nervous system indices of central arousal, notably...
Article
Background and objectives: Major depression disorder (MDD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD) are characterized by the use of perseverative cognition (PC) as a dysfunctional coping strategy. We sought to investigate the dysfunctional physiological and psychological consequences of PC and how the valence of social interactions moderates such consequ...
Article
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is associated with both autonomic dysfunction, notably decreased vagally-mediated heart rate variability (vmHRV), and neurostructural abnormalities. Notably, regional differences in brain morphometry correlate with vmHRV in healthy individuals. Here, we tested the hypothesis that specific focal abnormalities in co...
Article
Increased vascular reactivity to stress has been suggested to contribute to the greater risk for developing hypertension in African Americans. Here, we examined the way (hemodynamic profile) and the extent to which (compensation deficit) cardiac output and total peripheral resistance compensate for each other in determining blood pressure responses...
Article
Generalized anxiety (GAD) has excessive anxiety and uncontrollable worry as core symptoms. Abnormal cerebral functioning underpins the expression and perhaps pathogenesis of GAD: Studies implicate impaired communication between the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex (PFC). Our aim was to longitudinally investigate whether such network abnormalitie...
Article
Previous studies empirically support the existence of a distinctive association between deontological (but not altruistic) guilt and both disgust and obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms. Given that the neural substrate underlying deontological guilt comprises brain regions strictly implicated in the emotion of disgust (i.e. the insula), the present...
Article
Full-text available
Human cognition is not limited to the available environmental input but can consider realities that are different to the here and now. We describe the cognitive states and neural processes linked to the refinement of descriptions of personal goals. When personal goals became concrete, participants reported greater thoughts about the self and the fu...
Article
Background. Mind wandering has commonly been linked to bad scholastic performance; however, such association has rarely been investigated in the classroom. Moreover, in examining such association, motivational variables have been largely ignored. Aim. We aimed at examining the associations between the dispositional tendency to engage in mind wander...
Preprint
Resting state autonomic nervous system activity [ANS] indexed by measures of heart rate [HR] and its variability [HRV], is associated with brain morphology, in particular cortical thickness [CT]. However, findings have been mixed regarding the regions of interest [ROI] associated with HR/HRV and the direction of the association. Sex and age differe...
Article
Objective/background: According to the Cognitive Model of Insomnia disorder, rumination about lack of sleep and its diurnal consequences plays a crucial role in maintaining insomnia. Consolidated evidence shows that rumination is related to poor executive functions, which are cognitive control processes impacted by insomnia. Despite this evidence,...
Article
The move from the concept of homeostasis to that of allostasis has led reactivity stress research to widen the object of its investigation: From the brief physiological response that occurs when one is facing a stressor to what happens when one is anticipating or recover from a stressor. A paradigmatic example is represented by perseverative cognit...
Article
Heart rate variability (HRV) has been linked to effective functioning of prefrontal-subcortical inhibitory circuits. Despite the recognized role of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in executive functions linked to inhibitory capacity, studies linking HRV to executive functions are inconsistent, likely due to potential confounders. The present study soug...
Article
Full-text available
Stressful life events are an important cause of psychopathology. Humans exposed to aversive or stressful experiences show considerable inter-individual heterogeneity in their responses. However, the majority does not develop stress-related psychiatric disorders. The dynamic processes encompassing positive and functional adaptation in the face of si...
Article
Objective: High blood pressure (BP) is associated with reduced pain sensitivity, known as BP-related hypoalgesia. The underlying neural mechanisms remain uncertain, yet arterial baroreceptor signaling, occurring at cardiac systole, is implicated. We examined normotensives using functional neuroimaging (fMRI) and pain stimulation during distinct ph...
Article
The emotions of guilt and disgust play a pivotal role in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The present study hypothesized the existence of a distinctive relation between deontological (but not altruistic) guilt and subjective and physiological correlates of disgust. Moreover, we aimed at testing whether the evoked emotion of disgust may activate...
Book
Full-text available
Perseverative cognition is defined as the repetitive or sustained activation of cognitive representations of past stressful events or feared events in the future and even at non-clinical levels it causes a “fight-or-flight” action tendency, followed by a cascade of biological events, starting in the brain and ending as peripheral stress responses....