Ettore Ambrosini

Ettore Ambrosini
University of Padova | UNIPD · Department of Neurosciences

PhD

About

92
Publications
20,909
Reads
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1,807
Citations
Introduction
main research interests: executive functions; action observation and prediction (and how these processes are modulated by body state and action abilities); perception of space and affordances; embodied cognition; visuospatial attention
Additional affiliations
September 2017 - present
University of Padova
Position
  • Professor
June 2014 - August 2017
University of Padova
Position
  • PostDoc Position
May 2014 - May 2014
Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • AIP course: “Neuroscience and Imaging Methodology”. Laboratory class: “TMS and EMG”

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
Full-text available
We present a novel computational model that describes action perception as an active inferential process that combines motor prediction (the reuse of our own motor system to predict perceived movements) and hypothesis testing (the use of eye movements to disambiguate amongst hypotheses). The system uses a generative model of how (arm and hand) acti...
Article
The ability to suppress irrelevant information while executing a task or interference resistance is a function of pFC that is critical for successful goal-directed human behavior. In the study of interference resistance and, more generally, executive functions, two key questions are still open: Does pFC contribute to cognitive control abilities thr...
Article
In our daily life, we constantly exert sustained and phasic cognitive control processes to manage multiple competing task sets and rapidly switch between them. Increasing research efforts are attempting to unveil how the brain mediates these processes, highlighting the importance of the prefrontal cortex. An intriguing question concerns the influen...
Article
Viewed objects have been shown to afford suitable actions, even in the absence of any intention to act. However, little is known as to whether gaze behavior (i.e., the way we simply look at objects) is sensitive to action afforded by the seen object and how our actual motor possibilities affect this behavior. We recorded participants’ eye movements...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to predict the outcome of other beings' actions confers significant adaptive advantages. Experiments have assessed that human action observation can use multiple information sources, but it is currently unknown how they are integrated and how conflicts between them are resolved. To address this issue, we designed an action observation p...
Preprint
Evidence is discordant regarding how emotional processing and cognitive control interact to shape behavior. This study sought to examine this interaction by looking at the distinction between proactive and reactive modes of control and how they relate with emotional processing. Seventy-four healthy participants performed an emotional priming Stroop...
Preprint
The Stroop task has been a seminal paradigm in experimental psychology, so much that, in addition to the original color-word version, a multitude of alternative variations has been proposed. The spatial Stroop task, compared to many of the other variants, might potentially be not only a more proper variation but it also might overcome some of the m...
Preprint
The spatial Stroop task measures the ability to resolve interference between relevant and irrelevant spatial information. Besides satisfying the requirements for being a proper Stroop task, its purely spatial version ensures methodological advantages over the original color-word verbal task. We recently proposed a 4-choice spatial Stroop task that...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction The plasticity of the neural circuits after injuries has been extensively investigated over the last decades. Transcallosal microsurgery for lesions affecting the third ventricle offers an interesting opportunity to investigate the whole-brain white matter reorganization occurring after a selective resection of the genu of the corpus c...
Article
Full-text available
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) represents the most common type of neurodegenerative disorder. Although our knowledge on the causes of AD remains limited and no curative treatments are available, several interventions have been proposed in trying to improve patients’ symptomatology. Among those, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been shown a pro...
Preprint
Full-text available
A questionnaire to collect unintended effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A consensus based approach, Clinical Neurophysiology (2022), doi: https://doi. Abstract Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been widely used in both clinical and research practice. However, TMS might induce unintended sensations and undesired effects as well...
Article
A deficient sense of self, typically observed in schizophrenia spectrum disorders, is often accompanied by abnormalities in bodily perception and awareness. These abnormalities are seemingly among the most powerful predictive factors for the onset of schizophrenic illnesses. According to the hypothesis of the psychosis continuum, high schizotypal t...
Preprint
Full-text available
The efficient use of knowledge requires semantic control processes to retrieve context-relevant information. So far, it is well established that semantic knowledge, as measured with vocabulary tests, do not decline in aging. Yet, it is still unclear if controlled retrieval -the context-driven retrieval of very specific aspects of semantic knowledge...
Article
Full-text available
Background The strong and long lockdown adopted by the Italian government to limit COVID-19 spreading represents the first threat-related mass isolation in history that can be studied in depth by scientists to understand individuals’ emotional response to a pandemic. Methods We investigated the effects on individuals’ mental wellbeing of this long...
Article
Facilitated processing of negative information might contribute to the etiopathogenesis and maintenance of depressive symptoms. Cardiac vagal tone, indexed by heart rate variability (HRV), is believed to represent a proxy of the functional integrity of the neural networks implicated in brooding rumination, affective interference and depression. The...
Presentation
Full-text available
Many research programs in cognitive psychology and neuroscience have adopted a distinction between proactive control (i.e., a form of control that involves advance preparation for the current goal) and reactive control (i.e., a form of control that requires a cue for the current goal to be retrieved). For that distinction to be useful, however, it...
Article
Full-text available
Different cortical regions respond with distinct rhythmic patterns of neural oscillations to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). We investigated natural frequencies induced by TMS in left and right homologous dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (DLPFC) and related hemispheric differences. In 12 healthy young adults, single-pulse TMS was delivered...
Article
Full-text available
The brain predicts the timing of forthcoming events to optimize responses to them. Temporal predictions have been formalized in terms of the hazard function, which integrates prior beliefs on the likely timing of stimulus occurrence with information conveyed by the passage of time. However, how the human brain updates prior temporal beliefs is stil...
Preprint
Full-text available
Similarity measures, the extent to which two concepts have similar meanings, are the key to understand how concepts are represented, with different theoretical perspectives relying on very different sources of data from which similarity can be calculated. While there is some commonality in similarity measures, the extent of their correlation is lim...
Preprint
Italy was the first Western country with numerous COVID-19 infections that underwent a strong lockdown. This represents the first threat-related mass isolation in the history that can be in-depth studied by scientists to understand the side effects of pandemic lockdown in the psychophysical domain. There is increasing evidence that Italian lockdown...
Article
Similarity measures, the extent to which two concepts have similar meanings, are the key to understand how concepts are represented, with different theoretical perspectives relying on very different sources of data from which similarity can be calculated. While there is some commonality in similarity measures, the extent of their correlation is lim...
Article
According to the dimensional approach to psychosis, there is a continuum from low schizotypy to schizophrenia patients. The temporal aspect of sensory processing seems to be compromised across such continuum, as suggested by different studies separately investigating unisensory or multisensory domains. Most of these studies have so far focused prim...
Article
Cognitive control is particularly challenged when it is necessary to resolve interference and correct our behavior on-the-fly. To do this, it is necessary to inhibit the ongoing wrong action and reprogram a new motor plan as appropriate for the current task. This ability requires a complex interaction between cognitive and motor control. Here, we a...
Article
Task‐switching paradigms, which involve task repetitions and between‐task switches, have long been used as a benchmark of cognitive control processes. When mixed and single‐task blocks are presented, two types of costs usually occur: the switch cost , measured by contrasting performance on switch and repeat trials during the mixed‐task blocks, and...
Article
A crucial aspect of Gilead and colleagues’ ontology is the dichotomy between tangible and intangible representations, but the latter remains rather ill-defined. We propose a fundamental role for interoceptive experience and the statistical distribution of entities in language, especially for intangible representations, that we believe Gilead and co...
Preprint
The brain predicts the timing of forthcoming events to optimize responses to them. Temporal predictions have been formalized in terms of the hazard function, which integrates prior beliefs on the likely timing of stimulus occurrence with information conveyed by the passage of time. However, how the human brain updates prior temporal beliefs is stil...
Article
The fluency with which we plan and execute actions has been demonstrated to increase our sense of agency (SoA). However, the exact mechanisms how fluency influences SoA are still poorly understood. It is an open question whether this effect is primarily driven by fluency of stimulus processing, response preparation or by processes following respons...
Preprint
Intrinsic brain dynamics may play an important role in explaining inter-individual variability in executive functions. In the present electroencephalography (EEG) study, we focused on the brain lateralization patterns predicting performance on three different monitoring tasks of temporal, verbal and spatial nature. These tasks were administered to...
Article
Full-text available
Despite network studies of the human brain have brought consistent evidence of brain regions with diverse functional roles, the neuropsychological approach has mainly focused on the functional specialization of individual brain regions. Relatively few neuropsychological studies try to understand whether the severity of cognitive impairment across m...
Article
An important aspect of cognitive control is the ability to overcome interference, by boosting the processing of task-relevant information while suppressing the irrelevant information. This ability is affected by the progressive cognitive decline observed in aging. The aims of this study were to shed light on the neural spectral dynamics involved in...
Article
Full-text available
Executive functions refer to high-level cognitive processes that, by operating on lower-level mental processes, flexibly regulate and control our thoughts and goal-directed behavior. Despite their crucial role, the study of the nature and organization of executive functions still faces inherent difficulties. Moreover, most executive function models...
Article
The brain predicts the timing of forthcoming events to optimize processes in response to them. Temporal predictions are driven by both our prior expectations on the likely timing of stimulus occurrence and the information conveyed by the passage of time. Specifically, such predictions can be described in terms of the hazard function, that is, the c...
Article
Recent research has highlighted the contribution of interoceptive signals to different aspects of bodily self-consciousness (BSC) by means of the cardio-visual stimulation - i.e. perceiving a pulsing stimulus in synchrony with one's own heart. Here, for the first time, we investigate the effects of individual heartbeats on a critical feature of BSC...
Article
Full-text available
Age of acquisition (AoA) is an important psycholinguistic variable that affects the performance of healthy individuals and patients in a large variety of cognitive tasks. For this reason, it becomes more and more compelling to collect new AoA norms for a large set of stimuli in order to allow better control and manipulation of AoA in future researc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Age of acquisition (AoA) is an important psycholinguistic variable that affects the performance of healthy individuals and patients in a large variety of cognitive tasks. For this reason, it becomes more and more compelling to collect new AoA norms for a large set of stimuli in order to allow better control and manipulation of AoA in future researc...
Article
In this study, we tested the linguistic relativity hypothesis by studying the effect of grammatical gender (feminine vs. masculine) on affective judgments of conceptual representation in Italian and German. In particular, we examined the within- and cross-language grammatical gender effect and its interaction with participants’ demographic characte...
Article
Differences in pupil dilation are observed for studied compared to new items in recognition memory. According to cognitive load theory, this effect reflects the greater cognitive demands of retrieving contextual information from study phase. Pupil dilation can also occur when new items conceptually related to old ones are erroneously recognized as...
Article
Spinal cord injury can cause cognitive impairments even when no cerebral lesion is appreciable. As patients are forced to explore the environment in a non-canonical position (i.e., seated on a wheelchair), a modified relation with space can explain motor-related cognitive differences compared to non-injured individuals. Peripersonal space is encode...
Preprint
Full-text available
Differences in pupil dilation are observed for studied compared to new items in recognition memory. According to cognitive load theory, this effect reflects the greater cognitive demands of retrieving contextual information from study phase. Pupil dilation can also occur when new items conceptually related to old ones are erroneously recognized as...
Preprint
Differences in pupil dilation are observed for studied compared to new items in recognition memory. According to cognitive load theory, this effect reflects the greater cognitive demands of retrieving contextual information from study phase. Pupil dilation can also occur when new items conceptually related to old ones are erroneously recognized as...
Article
Full-text available
A longstanding debate in psychology concerns the relation between handedness and cognitive functioning. The present study aimed to contribute to this debate by comparing performance of right- and non-right-handers on verbal and spatial Stroop tasks. Previous studies have shown that non-right-handers have better inter-hemispheric interaction and gre...
Article
Performance on tasks involving cognitive control such as the Stroop task is often associated with left lateralized brain activations. Based on this neuro-functional evidence, we tested whether leftward structural grey matter asymmetries would also predict inter-individual differences in combatting Stroop interference. To check for the specificity o...
Article
Sensory events contribute to body ownership, the feeling that the body belongs to me. However, the encoding of sensory events is not only reactive, but also proactive in that our brain generates prediction about forthcoming stimuli. In previous studies we have shown that prediction of sensory events is a sufficient condition to induce the sense of...
Article
10070 Background: Convergent findings indicate the need of broadening the vision of cancer beyond known prognostic factors, as many variables of different nature equally affect the course of disease. Loneliness has been found to be associated with various health outcomes, but its relationship with cancer remains unclear. Here we aimed to investigat...
Article
Full-text available
In line with the dimensional theory of emotional space, we developed affective norms for words rated in terms of valence, arousal and dominance in a group of older adults to complete the adaptation of the Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW) for Italian and to aid research on aging. Here, as in the original Italian ANEW database, participants e...
Data
Affective ratings for the Italian adaptation of the ANEW stimuli. The supplementary material includes the affective ratings instruction in the Instructions sheet of the S1 Database file (XLSX). It includes also the database with the valence, arousal, and dominance ratings for the whole sample of older participants, as well as the statistics of the...
Article
Full-text available
Unusual interaction behaviors and perceptual aberrations, like those occurring in schizotypy and schizophrenia, may in part originate from impaired remapping of environmental stimuli in the body space. Such remapping is contributed by the integration of tactile and proprioceptive information about current body posture with other exteroceptive spati...
Article
Full-text available
While it is well-established that monitoring the environment for the occurrence of relevant events represents a key executive function, it is still unclear whether such a function is mediated by domain-general or domain-specific mechanisms. We investigated this issue by combining event-related potentials (ERPs) with a behavioral paradigm in which m...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to flexibly switch between tasks is a hallmark of cognitive control. Despite previous studies that have investigated whether different task-switching types would be mediated by distinct or overlapping neural mechanisms, no definitive consensus has been reached on this question yet. Here, we aimed at directly addressing this issue by rec...
Conference Paper
Our emotional reactions to stimuli depends on appetitive and defensive motivational states activated, respectively, in contexts promoting and threatening our survival. The affective space is defined by valence and arousal, whose relative influence on psychophysiological responses to emotion is debated. We tackled this issue by measuring pupil diame...
Article
We explored a novel method to electrophysiologically measure visuo-spatial recognition memory using a modified version of the Virtual Tray of Objects Task (VTOT). Event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded from 18 healthy volunteers during performance in the VTOT. Participants were required to detect random repetitions of three-dimensional visual...
Article
Full-text available
Interoception, the sense of the physiological condition of the body, provides a basis for subjective feelings and emotions. Anterior insular cortex activity represents the state of the body and varies according to personality traits, such as emotional susceptibility (ES)-the tendency to experience feelings of discomfort and vulnerability when facin...
Article
Full-text available
Categorization helps organizing our world knowledge by classifying exemplar concepts into categories. The degree to which an exemplar is representative of its category is called typicality. Passeri et al. (2015) made the first attempt to assess its effect on semantic representations in Wernicke's area and its right homolog by interfering on their o...
Article
Full-text available
The widely observed between-subject variability in cognitive responses to coffee may have a genetic basis. We evaluated cognitive responses to caffeine throughout three complex cognitive tasks assessing different subdomains of attention, namely Alerting and Orienting (Categorical Search Task) and Executive Control (Stroop Task and Eriksen Flanker T...
Article
Full-text available
In everyday life, human beings can report memories of past events that did not occur or that occurred differently from the way they remember them because memory is an imperfect process of reconstruction and is prone to distortion and errors. In this recognition study using word stimuli, we investigated whether a specific operationalization of seman...
Article
Full-text available
The role of active tool use in the remapping of space in hemispatial neglect patients has been extensively investigated. To date, however, there is no evidence that observing tool use can play a role in the remapping of space in hemispatial neglect patients. In this study, a patient with a severe hemispatial neglect in near but not far space and tw...
Article
Full-text available
Of the eight electronic supplementary material (ESM) files included with this article, seven were inadvertently omitted. All ESM files are now available online.
Article
Full-text available
Attention is one of the oldest and most pivotal themes in cognitive science. A current and widely accepted theory holds that anatomically-distinct, hierarchically-organized networks, each responsible for specific components of the attention process (i.e., alerting, orienting, and executive control), constitute the attention system (Posner and Peter...
Article
Full-text available
We developed affective norms for 1,121 Italian words in order to provide researchers with a highly controlled tool for the study of verbal processing. This database was developed from translations of the 1,034 English words present in the Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW; Bradley & Lang, 1999) and from words taken from Italian semantic norms...