Frank Van Overwalle

Frank Van Overwalle
Vrije Universiteit Brussel | VUB · Brain Body and Cognition

Doctor of Psychology

About

163
Publications
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Introduction
Frank Van Overwalle currently works at the Brain Body and Cognition department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Frank does research in Social Neuroscience or the Social Brain, and more recently on the Social Cerebellum

Publications

Publications (163)
Article
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The posterior cerebellum contributes to dynamic social cognition by building representations and predictions about sequences in which social interactions typically take place. However, the extent to which violations of prior social expectations during human interaction activate the cerebellum remains largely unknown. The present study examined inco...
Article
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To study social sequence learning, earlier fMRI studies investigated the neural correlates of a novel Belief Serial Reaction Time task in which participants learned sequences of beliefs held by protagonists. The results demonstrated the involvement of the mentalizing network in the posterior cerebellum and cerebral areas (e.g., temporo-parietal jun...
Article
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The cerebellum is increasingly attracting scientists interested in basic and clinical research of neuromodulation. Here, we review available studies that used either transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to examine the role of the posterior cerebellum in different aspects of social and affective c...
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Recent research has suggested that the posterior cerebellum encodes predictions and sequences of social actions, and also supports detecting inconsistent trait-implying actions of individuals as discussed by Pu et al. (2020, 2021). However, little is known about the role of the posterior cerebellum in detecting sequencing and inconsistencies by a g...
Article
Trust violations regularly occur under the form of distributive fairness violations. In response to such violations, the transgressor can signal his or her willingness to go the “extra mile” by compensating the victim beyond the inflicted damage, which is generally referred to as overcompensation. We conducted two behavioral studies (Studies 1 and...
Article
Recent research has indicated that the posterior cerebellum plays a crucial role in social cognition by encoding sequences of social actions. This study investigates its role in learning sequences of stereotype-implying actions by group members. We presented a set of five sentences that each described a group member who performed either stereotype-...
Article
This study tests the hypothesis that the posterior cerebellum is involved in social cognition by identifying and automatizing sequences of social actions. We applied a belief serial reaction time task (Belief SRT task), which requires mentalizing about two protagonists’ beliefs about how many flowers they receive. The protagonists’ beliefs could ei...
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Recent advances in social neuroscience have highlighted the critical role of the cerebellum and especially the posterior cerebellar Crus in social mentalizing (i.e., theory of mind). Research in the past 5 years has provided growing evidence supporting the view that the posterior cerebellum builds internal action models of our social interactions t...
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Recent advances in social neuroscience have highlighted the critical role of the cerebellum in social cognition, and especially the posterior cerebellum. Studies have supported the view that the posterior cerebellum builds internal action models of our social interactions to predict how other people’s actions will be executed and what our most like...
Article
The posterior cerebellum is responsible for the understanding and learning of sequences of actions by others, which are a prerequisite for social understanding. This study investigates this cerebellar function while navigating towards a goal in a social context. Participants undertook a novel social navigation task requiring them to memorize and su...
Article
Objective: Various studies investigated implicit sequence learning in Parkinson's disease (PD) by means of the traditional motor Serial Reaction Time (SRT) task and found a general pattern of impaired sequence learning. However, as perceptual and motor sequences of the SRT-task were correlated in previous studies, implicit sequential knowledge acq...
Article
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Can we predict the future by reading others´ minds? This study explores whether attributing others' personality traits facilitate predictions about their future actions and the temporal order of these future actions. Prior evidence demonstrated that the posterior cerebellar Crus is involved in identifying the temporal sequence of social actions and...
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Can we predict the future by reading others´ minds? This study explores whether attributing others' personality traits facilitate predictions about their future actions and the temporal order of these future actions. Prior evidence demonstrated that the posterior cerebellar Crus is involved in identifying the temporal sequence of social actions and...
Article
Recent studies have documented the involvement of the posterior cerebellar Crus (I & II) in social mentalizing, when sequences play a critical role. We investigated for the first time implicit learning of belief sequences. We created a novel task in which true and false beliefs of other persons were alternated in an adapted serial reaction time (SR...
Article
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Implicit motor sequence learning (IMSL) is a cognitive function that is known to be directly associated with impaired motor function in Parkinson's disease (PD). Research on healthy young participants shows the potential for transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive brain stimulation technique, over the primary motor cortex (M1)...
Article
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Repetitive thought about oneself, including one’s emotions, can lead to both adaptive and maladaptive effects. Construal level of repetitive self-referential thought might moderate this. During interoception , which engages areas such as the insula, the anterior and/or posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and the somatosensory cortex, concrete low leve...
Chapter
This chapter reviews several aspects of the neural underpinnings of social mentalizing, by asking several key questions. First, do we have control over our social judgments? Our findings suggest that implicit (and spontaneous) versus explicit (and controlled) processes are supported by the same core mentalizing network. Stronger activations during...
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It has been proposed that the cerebellum contributes to social cognition. Based on the view that cerebellar internal models create predictions on motions and actions, we hypothesize that the posterior cerebellum supports identifying temporal sequences of persons’ actions as well as detecting inconsistent actions that violate the implied trait. Part...
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To investigate whether people can implicitly learn regularities in a social context, we developed a new implicit sequence learning task combining elements from classic false belief and serial reaction time tasks. Participants learned that protagonists were offered flowers at four locations. The protagonists' beliefs concerning the flowers were true...
Article
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An increasing number of studies demonstrated the involvement of the cerebellum in (social) sequence processing. The current preliminary study is the first to investigate the causal involvement of the cerebellum in sequence generation, using low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (LF-rTMS). By targeting the posterior cerebellum,...
Article
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Previous neuroimaging studies have revealed neural representation of traits in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), but related studies mainly investigated the neural representation of warmth or competence trait respectively. To identify the potential differences of trait codes of warmth and competence in the mPFC, we applied functional magnetic re...
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The traditional view on the cerebellum is that it controls motor behavior. Although recent work has revealed that the cerebellum supports also nonmotor functions such as cognition and affect, only during the last 5 years it has become evident that the cerebellum also plays an important social role. This role is evident in social cognition based on...
Article
Implicit motor sequence learning (IMSL) is affected in Parkinson's disease (PD). Research in healthy young participants shows the potential for transcranial direct‐current stimulation (tDCS) over the primary motor cortex (M1) to enhance IMSL. In PD, only null effects have been reported to date. We determined concurrent, short‐term, and long‐term ef...
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Background and objectives We provide a case analysis for a 28-year-old, native Dutch-speaking lady who developed Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS), a few weeks after falling down the staircase. In addition to FAS, which gave the impression she spoke with a German accent, German(-like) words and structures occurred. Speech symptoms were aggravated by in...
Article
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This meta-analysis explores the role of the posterior cerebellum Crus I/II in social mentalizing. We identified over 200 fMRI studies via NeuroSynth that met our inclusion criteria and fell within bilateral Crus II areas related to "sequencing" during mentalizing (coordinates ±24 -76 -40; from earlier studies) and mere social "mentalizing" or self-...
Article
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The current worldwide severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has brought some medical systems to the brink of collapse. This crisis is also negatively impacting the care of patients with non-COVID-19 conditions, including those with cerebellar ataxia (CA). Older patients...
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Recent research has indicated that the cerebellum is responsible for social judgments, such as making trait attributions. The present study investigated the function of the posterior cerebellum in supporting sequence learning linked to trait inferences about persons. We conducted a memory paradigm that required participants to learn a given tempora...
Article
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An ALE meta-analysis focused on the serial reaction time task published in NeuroImage (Janacsek et al., 2019) demonstrated consistent activation of the basal ganglia across neuroimaging studies featuring sequence > random block contrasts and no consistent cerebellar activation. To enable valid conclusions regarding the role of the cerebellum in thi...
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The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2), the cause of the current pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), primarily targets the respiratory system. Some patients also experience neurological signs and symptoms ranging from anosmia, ageusia, headache, nausea, and vomiting to confusion, encephalitis, and stroke. Approxim...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Sporadically advocated over the last two centuries, a cerebellar role in cognition and affect has been rigorously established in the past few decades. In the clinical domain, such progress is epitomized by the “cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome” (“CCAS”) or “Schmahmann syndrome.” Introduced in the late 1990s, CCAS reflects a constellation of...
Article
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This analysis explores the effective connectivity of the cerebellum with the cerebral cortex during the generation of correct sequences of social and non-social events, using dynamic causal modelling (DCM). Our hypothesis is that during human evolution, the cerebellum's function evolved from a mere coordinator of fluent sequences of motions and act...
Article
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Social neuroscience largely ignored the role of the cerebellum, despite its implications in a broad range of tasks and neurological disorders related to social functioning and inferences on others’ mental state such as beliefs. One hypothesis states that during human evolution, the cerebellum’s function evolved from a mere coordinator of fluent seq...
Article
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Social neuroscience largely ignored the role of the cerebellum, despite its implications in a broad range of tasks and neurological disorders related to social functioning and inferences on others’ mental state such as beliefs. one hypothesis states that during human evolution, the cerebellum’s function evolved from a mere coordinator of fluent seq...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research has revealed that the cerebellum plays a critical role in social reasoning and in particular in understanding false beliefs and making trait attributions. One hypothesis is that the cerebellum is responsible for the understanding of sequences of motions and actions, which may be a prerequisite for social understanding. To investigat...
Article
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Neuroimaging research has demonstrated that mentalizing about false beliefs held by other people recruits the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ). However, earlier work was limited to a single agent that held a false belief. We investigated the effect of two agents that held similar or mixed false and/or true beliefs. Participants saw animated stories...
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Categorizing people in groups and associating them with stereotypical behavior is an integral part of human social understanding and interaction. This study investigates where knowledge on social groups and their stereotypes is represented in the brain. We presented participants with two sentences describing a group member (e.g. the police officer)...
Article
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Prior neuroimaging studies revealed neural correlates for various aspects of self processing, but did not identify the neural representation of the self in terms of personality traits isolated from other processes. To identify this representation of the self, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) repetition suppression which is based...
Article
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Heart rate variability (HRV) is a tool that has been extensively used in fields such as clinical cardiology, psychiatry, and psychology to assess affective experiences. Although traditionally The European Society of Cardiology and The North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology recommended to use either a recording length of 24-h (long-t...
Article
Earlier neuroimaging studies on social inferences applying repetition suppression indicated that psychological entities of persons are represented in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). These representations were identified by suppression of activation in neural populations after repetition of the same persons, and are interpreted as abstr...
Article
During the past 3 decades numerous neurophysiological, neuroimaging, experimental and clinical studies have evidenced a crucial role for the cerebellum in cognitive, affective and behavioral functions. As a result of the acknowledged modulatory role of the cerebellum upon remote structures such as the cerebral cortex, cerebellar injury may give ris...
Article
Background & objective: During the past 3 decades, numerous neurophysiological, neuroimaging, experimental and clinical studies have evidenced a crucial role for the cerebellum in cognitive, affective and behavioral functions. As a result of the acknowledged modulatory role of the cerebellum upon remote structures such as the cerebral cortex, cere...
Article
In this analysis we explored the effective connectivity of the cerebellum with the cerebrum in social mentalizing, across five studies (n = 91) involving abstract and complex forms of mentalizing, such as (a) person and group impression formation, based on behavioral descriptions, and (b) constructing personal counterfactual events. Connectivity wa...
Article
Norm violations are ubiquitous in organizations and often result in tangible harm and a loss of trust. One possible response to enhance trust involves the provision of financial compensation. Unfortunately, little is known about the processes that underlie the effect of such a tangible response to increase trust. We employed techniques in cognitive...
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Prior neuroimaging research demonstrated that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) houses neural representations for traits and familiar persons that possess these traits. But do such neural representations also exist for people we do not know? We hypothesized that knowledge about unknown persons is encoded in “generic” mentalizing representa...
Article
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Social skills probably emerge from the interaction between different neural processing levels. However, social neuroscience is fragmented into highly specialized, rarely cross-referenced topics. The present study attempts a systematic reconciliation by deriving a social brain definition from neural activity meta-analyses on social cognitive capacit...
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Previous studies have documented links between sub-clinical narcissism and the active pursuit of short-term mating strategies (e.g., unrestricted sociosexuality, marital infidelity, mate poaching). Nearly all of these investigations have relied solely on samples from Western cultures. In the current study, responses from a cross-cultural survey of...
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Over the past three decades, insights into the role of the cerebellum in emotional processing have substantially increased. Indeed, methodological refinements in cerebellar lesion studies and major technological advancements in the field of neuroscience are in particular responsible to an exponential growth of knowledge on the topic. It is timely t...
Article
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The dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) is part of the mentalizing network, a set of brain regions consistently engaged in inferring mental states. However, its precise function in this network remains unclear. It has recently been proposed that the dmPFC is involved in high-level abstract (i.e., categorical) identification or construction of bot...
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Scientific Reports 6 : Article number: 39609 10.1038/srep39609 ; published online: 20 December 2016 ; updated: 23 January 2017 This Article contains a typographical error in the Affiliation of the author Tingyong Feng.
Article
Group Attributing mind to interaction partners has been shown to increase the social relevance we ascribe to others' actions and to modulate the amount of attention dedicated to them. However, it remains unclear how the relationship between higher-order mind attribution and lower-level attention processes is established in the brain. In this neuroi...
Article
Full-text available
Previous neuroimaging studies have revealed that a trait code is mainly represented in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). However, those studies only investigated the neural code of warmth traits. According to the ‘Big Two’ model of impression formation, competence traits are the other major dimension when we judge others. The current st...
Article
This multi-study analysis (6 fMRI studies; 142 participants) explores the functional activation and connectivity of the cerebellum with the cerebrum during repeated behavioral information uptake informing about personality traits of different persons. The results suggest that trait repetition recruits activity in areas belonging to the mentalizing...
Article
Attributing mind to interaction partners has been shown to increase the social relevance we ascribe to others' actions and to modulate the amount of attention dedicated to them. However, it remains unclear how the relationship between higher-order mind attribution and lower-level attention processes is established in the brain. In this neuroimaging...
Article
Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that the medial prefrontal cortex is involved in attributions on enduring and abstract trait characteristics of persons, but not in causal attributions of temporary here-and-now events. Moreover, the neural representation of trait information is thought to be located in the ventral part of the medial prefronta...
Article
Neuroimaging research has demonstrated that the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) is activated when unexpected stimuli appear in spatial reorientation tasks as well as during thinking about the beliefs of other people triggered by verbal scenarios. While the role of potential common component processes subserved by the TPJ has been extensively studie...