Fausto Caruana

Fausto Caruana
Italian National Research Council | CNR · Institute of Neuroscience IN

Phd - Research Neuroscientist

About

93
Publications
67,332
Reads
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2,142
Citations
Introduction
I specialized in social, cognitive and affective neuroscience at the University of Parma. My studies are focused on the neural basis of social cognition, emotion and the role of the mirror system, by means of a multidisciplinary approach including human intracranial recording and electrical stimulation. My research interests lie in the relationships between the motor system and cognitive and affective functions, and in the theoretical aspects of embodied cognition.
Additional affiliations
November 2019 - August 2020
Italian National Research Council
Position
  • Researcher
April 2012 - present
Università di Parma
Position
  • Course in Neuroscience - contract
January 2010 - December 2012
Università di Parma
Education
January 2005 - December 2008
Università di Parma
Field of study
  • Neuroscience
September 1999 - July 2004
Università di Parma
Field of study
  • Philosophy

Publications

Publications (93)
Article
Full-text available
Evidence from a large number of brain imaging studies has shown that, in humans, the insula, and especially its anterior part, is involved in emotions and emotion recognition. Typically, however, these studies revealed that, besides the insula, a variety of other cortical and subcortical areas are also active. Brain imaging studies are correlative...
Article
Full-text available
Laughter is a complex motor behavior that, typically, expresses mirth. Despite its fundamental role in social life, knowledge about the neural basis of laughter is very limited and mostly based on a few electrical stimulation (ES) studies carried out in epileptic patients. In these studies laughter was elicited from temporal areas where it was acco...
Article
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Article
Full-text available
The cingulate cortex is a mosaic of different anatomical fields, whose functional characterization is still a matter of debate. In humans, one method that may provide useful insights on the role of the different cingulate regions, and to tackle the issue of the functional differences between its anterior, middle and posterior subsectors, is intraco...
Article
This opinion piece aims to tackle the biological, psychological, neural and cultural underpinnings of laughter from a naturalistic and evolutionary perspective. A naturalistic account of laughter requires the revaluation of two dogmas of a longstanding philosophical tradition, that is, the quintessential link between laughter and humour, and the un...
Presentation
Full-text available
One contribution of 17 to a theme issue 'Cracking the laugh code: laughter through the lens of biology, psychology, and neuroscience'.
Article
According to an evolutionist approach, laughter is a multifaceted behaviour affecting social, emotional, motor and speech functions. Albeit previous studies have suggested that high-frequency electrical stimulation (HF-ES) of the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC) may induce bursts of laughter—suggesting a crucial contribution of this regio...
Article
Full-text available
In this review, we retrace the results of 70 years of human cingulate cortex (CC) intracerebral electrical stimulation and discuss its contribution to our understanding of the anatomofunctional and clinical aspects of this wide cortical region. The review is divided into three main sections. In the first section, we report the results obtained by t...
Article
Full-text available
The built environment represents the stage surrounding our everyday life activities. To investigate how architectural design impacts individuals' affective states, we measured subjective judgments of perceived valence (pleasant and unpleasant) and arousal after the dynamic experience of a progressive change of macro visuospatial dimensions of virtu...
Article
Full-text available
The impression of trustworthiness based on someone's facial appearance biases our subsequent behavior toward that subject in a variety of contexts. In this study, we investigated whether facial trustworthiness also biases the credibility of utterances associated with that face (H1). We explored whether this bias is mitigated by utterances eliciting...
Article
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Dynamic virtual representations of the human being can communicate a broad range of affective states through body movements, thus effectively studying emotion perception. However, the possibility of modeling static body postures preserving affective information is still fundamental in a broad spectrum of experimental settings exploring time-locked...
Article
Background and Objectives Cingulate epilepsy (CE) is a rare and challenging type of focal epilepsy, due to the polymorphic semiology of the seizures, mimicking other types of epilepsy, and the limited utility of scalp-EEG. Methods We selected consecutive drug-resistant subjects with CE who were seizure-free after surgery, with seizure onset zone (...
Article
Full-text available
Although clinical neuroscience and the neuroscience of consciousness have long sought mechanistic explanations of tactile-awareness disorders, mechanistic insights are rare, mainly because of the difficulty of depicting the fine-grained neural dynamics underlying somatosensory processes. Here, we combined the stereo-EEG responses to somatosensory s...
Preprint
Full-text available
The built environment represents the stage surrounding our everyday life activities. To investigate the impact that architectural features have on individuals’ affective states, we measured their judgments of perceived valence (pleasant and unpleasant) and arousal after the dynamic experience of a progressive change of the environment within virtua...
Article
Full-text available
Covid-19 pandemics has fostered a pervasive use of facemasks all around the world. While they help in preventing infection, there are concerns related to the possible impact of facemasks on social communication. The present study investigates how emotion recognition, trust attribution and re-identification of faces differ when faces are seen withou...
Chapter
Full-text available
In the first part of the chapter, I review evidence showing that the same centers controlling laughter are also involved in generating the affective aspect accompanying laughter. Subsequently, I discuss new data showing that these centers can be activated by the passive observation of others’ laughter, hence a “mirror mechanism” for laughter. Inspi...
Book
Full-text available
This book evaluates how the pragmatist notion of habit can influence current debates at the crossroads between philosophy, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, and social theory. It deals with the different aspects of the pragmatic turn involved in 4E cognitive science and traces back the roots of such a pragmatic turn to both classical and contempor...
Chapter
Full-text available
The aim of this book is to evaluate the contribution that the notion of habit could make to current debate at the crossroads between philosophy, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, and social theory. This topic is addressed in a broad sense, dealing with the different aspects of the pragmatic turn involved by 4E (embodied, embedded, extended, and en...
Chapter
This book evaluates the potential of the pragmatist notion of habit possesses to influence current debates at the crossroads between philosophy, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, and social theory. It deals with the different aspects of the pragmatic turn involved in 4E cognitive science and traces back the roots of such a pragmatic turn to both c...
Article
Laughter is a complex motor behavior occurring in both emotional and nonemotional contexts. Here, we investigated whether the different functions of laughter are mediated by distinct networks and, if this is the case, which are the white matter tracts sustaining them. We performed a multifiber tractography investigation placing seeds in regions inv...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we will introduce and discuss a Social Interaction Theory of Laughter, focusing our attention on both the continuities and discontinuities between human and animal laughter. We claim that laughter does not have to be studied from a starting point that prioritises humor, but rather from a theory of emotions able to provide an account...
Article
Full-text available
The properties of the secondary somatosensory area (SII) have been described by many studies in monkeys and humans. Recent studies on monkeys, however, showed that beyond somatosensory stimuli, SII responds to a wider number of stimuli, a finding requiring a revision that human SII is purely sensorimotor. By recording cortical activity with stereot...
Book
Full-text available
Le principali tematiche che oggi dominano il dibattito psicologico e neuroscientifico sulle emozioni hanno in realtà una storia che troppo spesso è stata dimenticata o semplicemente strumentalizzata ma che, adeguatamente conosciuta, può offrire elementi utili a fare chiarezza anche sugli aspetti più problematici e controversi delle teorie contempor...
Article
Full-text available
A semiotic ethology of the “superiority laughter”: a pragmatist and evolutionary hypothesis. The oldest, and still the most popular philosophical theory of laughter, is the Superiority theory, arguing that laughter is a uniquely-human behavior triggered by a feeling of superiority. Similar to other influential theories of laughter, however, the su...
Article
Full-text available
The oldest, and still the most popular philosophical theory of laughter, is the Superiority theory, arguing that laughter is a uniquely-human behavior triggered by a feeling of superiority. Similar to other influential theories of laughter, however, the superiority theory should be better defined as a theory of humor, hence unable to account for th...
Article
Full-text available
A common view in affective neuroscience considers emotions as a multifaceted phenomenon constituted by independent affective and motor components. Such dualistic connotation, obtained by rephrasing the classic Darwin and James’s theories of emotion, leads to the assumption that emotional expression is controlled by motor centers in the anterior cin...
Article
Full-text available
In the present study, we mapped the spatio-temporal dynamics of cortical responses to ipsilateral median nerve stimulation using intracerebral recordings (stereo-EEG) in 38 drug-resistant epileptic patients. Furthermore, we compared the pattern of responsiveness obtained in the same leads across ipsilateral and contralateral stimulations. Ipsilater...
Article
Full-text available
In this review, we discuss first the anatomical and lesion studies that allowed the localization of fundamental functions in the cerebral cortex of primates including humans. Subsequently, we argue that the years from the end of the Second World War until the end of the last century represented the “golden age” of system neuroscience. In this perio...
Article
Full-text available
It has been recently found that the human dorso-central insular cortex contributes to the execution and recognition of the affective component of hand actions, most likely through modulation of the activity of the parieto-frontal circuits. While the anatomical connections between the hand representation of the insula and, the parietal and frontal r...
Article
Full-text available
After more than two millennia of theorizing, a unified view of how laughter works is still lacking. Over the years, philosophers have proposed three predominant hypotheses to explain this peculiar human behavior, based on a feeling of superiority, the appreciation of something that violates our expectations , or the release of nervous energy. Conte...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Four contributions on the relationship between cognitive functions and neural structures
Poster
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Actions can be expressed with different forms: for example gently or rudely. These forms has been named “vitality forms” by Stern (1985, 2010). In previous fMRI studies in humans, it has been demonstrated that the perception and the execution of reaching-grasping actions performed with different vitality forms activated the left dorso-central insul...
Article
Full-text available
In a paper that recently appeared in this journal, we proposed a model that aims at providing a comprehensive account of our ability to intelligently use tools, bridging sensorimotor and reasoning-based explanations of this ability. Central to our model is the notion of generalized motor programs for tool use, which we defined as a synthesis betwee...
Article
The aim of the present review is to discuss the localization of circuits that allow recognition of emotional facial expressions in blindsight patients. Because recognition of facial expressions is function of different centers, and their localization is not always clear, we decided to discuss here three emotional facial expression - smiling, disgus...
Article
Full-text available
The theoretical bases of affective neurosciences are going through a turbulent period. In answering the apparently naïve question “what is an emotion?” scholars supporting a basic emotion theory (BET) argue that emotions are discrete mental entities localized in the brain in the form of affect programs. Recently, psychological constructionists (PC)...
Article
Full-text available
A description of the spatiotemporal dynamics of human cortical activity during cognitive tasks is a fundamental goal of neuroscience. In the present study, we employed stereo-EEG in order to assess the neural activity during tool-action observation. We recorded from 49 epileptic patients (5502 leads) implanted with intracerebral electrodes, while t...
Article
Full-text available
Tool-use behavior is currently one of the most intriguing and widely debated topics in cognitive neuroscience. Different accounts of our ability to use tools have been proposed. In the first part of the paper we review the most prominent interpretations and suggest that none of these accounts, considered in itself, is sufficient to explain tool use...
Article
Full-text available
According to the psychological constructionist account of emotions, emotions are complex phenomena made up by basic neural ingredients that are not specific to emotions, but common to both emotional and cognitive processes. The composition of such basic ingredients is largely shaped by culture and language. This view has been experimentally support...
Article
It was recently proposed that the neural substrate mediating smile production might play a key role also in the recognition of others' smile. This hypothesis, however, has been challenged by difficulties in eliciting ecological smiling in standard laboratory settings. Here we report of a case where these difficulties were overcome by combining elec...
Book
Full-text available
L’idea di un volume dedicato alle nuove scienze della mente, comunemente accorpate sotto la dicitura inglese di Embodied Cognition (raramente tradotta in italiano), è mossa dalla volontà degli autori di coprire un vuoto nella letteratura scientifica italiana. Per una di quelle beffe del destino, infatti, l’Italia ricopre una posizione di spicco in...
Article
Full-text available
A fine-grained description of the spatiotemporal dynamics of human brain activity is a major goal of neuroscientific research. Limitations in spatial and temporal resolution of available noninvasive recording and imaging techniques have hindered so far the acquisition of precise, comprehensive four-dimensional maps of human neural activity. The pre...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we will review some of the most influential theories concerning the human capability to use tools, and we will make a case for the notion that none of them, considered in itself, offers an overarching explanation for this complex ability. We will also provide our own suggestion, arguing that the Peircean notions of "abduction" and "h...
Article
Full-text available
Embodied cognition (EC) views propose that cognition is shaped by the kind of body that organisms possess. We give an overview of recent literature on EC, highlighting the differences between stronger and weaker versions of the theory. We also illustrate the debates on the notions of simulation, of representation, and on the role of the motor syste...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last two decades the insula has been described as the sensory “interoceptive cortex”. As a consequence, human brain imaging studies have been focusing on the role of insula in the sensory perception of emotions. However, evidence from neurophysiological studies on non-human primates have shown that the insula is involved in generating emot...
Article
Full-text available
Eccoci qua, a più di un lustro dal libro di Legrenzi e Umiltà (2009), a parlare ancora di “neuro-mania”. Dalla pubblicazione del celebre libro ad oggi molto inchiostro innocente è già stato versato, ma evidentemente non abbastanza. La novità, nella declinazione della neuro-mania proposta da Emiliani e Mazzara (E&M), sta nel rivolgere i riflettori n...
Article
Full-text available
In the present paper we analyze the current neuroscientific debate on intelligent tool use by taking into account the Peircean concepts of abduction and icon. Peirce’s insights will allow us to address some of the problems currently discussed in the literature on tool behavior, and to finally suggest a new framework to account for this capability....
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We investigated the neural basis of tool use observation by means of intracranial EEG recording (iEEG) performed on epileptic patients with depth electrodes in the Niguarda Hospital. Patients observed videos depicting actions performed with different tools (screwdriver, rake, pliers) or with the hand, as well as static images extracted from the mov...
Article
Full-text available
Recent findings in monkeys suggest that action selection is based on a competition between various action options that are automatically planned by the motor system. Here we discuss data from intracranial EEG recordings in human premotor cortex during a bimanual version of the Eriksen flankers test that suggest that the same principles apply to hum...
Article
Full-text available
In this review, we propose that the neural basis for the spontaneous, diversified human tool use is an area devoted to the execution and observation of tool actions, located in the left anterior supramarginal gyrus (aSMG). The aSMG activation elicited by observing tool use is typical of human subjects, as macaques show no similar activation, even a...
Article
While is widely accepted that the posterior temporal region is activated during the observation of faces showing gaze shifts, it is still unclear whether its activity is stronger while observing direct or averted gaze. Furthermore, despite its assessed role in social cognition, studies describing an enhanced activity of the posterior temporal regio...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence that the human premotor cortex (PMC) is activated by cognitive functions involving the motor domain is classically explained as the reactivation of a motor program decoupled from its executive functions, and exploited for different purposes by means of a motor simulation. In contrast, the evidence that PMC contributes to the sequencing of...
Chapter
Full-text available
Embodied cognition (EC) views propose that cognition is shaped by the kind of body organisms possess. We overview recent literature on EC, highlighting the differences between stronger and weaker versions of the theory. We also illustrate the debates on the notions of simulation, of representation, and on the role of the motor system for cognition,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
It is known that there is a multiple somatosensory hand representation in the primate cortex. Most of the evidence in humans comes from the fMRI studies, which lack temporal resolution, and has a limited spatial resolution. In the present study we used the opportunity of standard median nerve stimulation test in presurgical evaluation of epileptic...
Article
Full-text available
The great majority of our knowledge on the brain functions depends on correlative studies, that are, the investigations of the brain responses to stimuli presented to the experimental subject by the scientist. In the present paper I will show that all correlative studies show an intrinsic theoretical weakness, that is, the one identified by the W.V...
Article
Full-text available
L’Embodied Cognition rappresenta la più grande novità nella psicologia cognitiva degli ultimi vent’anni. Alla base di questo programma vi è l’idea che i processi cognitivi dipendano, riflettano, o siano influenzati dai sistemi di controllo del corpo. Un’intera classe di nuove prospettive sembra essere entrata nell’agenda degli psicologi solo dopo l...
Article
Full-text available
Sebbene provenienti dai più diversi settori disciplinari, tutti i com-mentatori circoscrivono le loro osservazioni intorno ad una manciata di nodi cruciali: anti-rappresentazionalismo, discontinuità con il co-gnitivismo, corpo ed emozioni, linguaggio e concetti astratti. Andiamo per ordine. Una rappresentazione, è rappresentazione di qualcosa, per...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
High-frequency reactivity to somato-sensory stimulation in the human thalamus: an intracerebral EEG study
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Gaze is a social cue communicating the intentions and the dispositions of other individuals. A great interest has been paid to the way the brain codes the direction of others’ gaze and different cognitive processes have been associated to direct-gaze (DG) and averted-gaze (AG) observation. Strong activations of the posterior temporal region during...
Article
We challenge the classic experience/expression dichotomous account of emotions, according to which experiencing and expressing an emotion are two independent processes. By endorsing Dewey's and Mead's accounts of emotions, and capitalizing upon recent empirical findings, we propose that expression is part of the emotional experience. This proposal...
Article
Full-text available
In the last few years, the insula has been the focus of many brain-imaging studies, mostly devoted to clarify its role in emotions and social communication. Physiological data, however, on which one may ground these correlative findings are almost totally lacking. Here, we investigated the functional properties of the insular cortex in behaving mon...
Article
Full-text available
A classic view on the function of the motor system is that the motor areas of our brain contain a representation of single muscles. This view was supported by the classic work of early physiologists demonstrating that the electrical stimulation of different part of the motor system evokes the movement of specific part of the body, and that threshol...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper I propose a link between addiction and the functional role of the insula, a wide cortical region buried in the dept of the Sylvian sulcus that is still poorly understood from the neurophysiological point of view. However, a renewed interest for this region followed the recent hypothesis according to which insula is an interoceptive co...