Vittorio Gallese

Vittorio Gallese
Università di Parma | UNIPR · Dipartimento di Medicina e Chirurgia- Unità di Neuroscienze

Professor of Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience

About

463
Publications
243,236
Reads
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Introduction
My research activity since its beginning has been focusing on the relationship between the sensory-motor system and cognition, in non-human primates and humans. I am currently investigating the neurobiological and bodily roots of intersubjectivity, empathy, aesthetic experience and of a variety of psychoathological conditions, among which Schizophrenia. Check the FB page of the Lab Neuroscience & Humanities https://www.facebook.com/Neuroscience-Humanities-LAB-UNiversity-of-Parma-10466811121401
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
University of London
Position
  • Fellow
January 2016 - December 2018
University of London
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 2010 - present
Columbia University
Position
  • Adjunct Senior Research Scholar
Education
October 1978 - April 1985
Università di Parma
Field of study
  • Medicine

Publications

Publications (463)
Article
The nature of concepts has always been a hotly debated topic in both philosophy and psychology and, more recently, also in cognitive neuroscience. Different accounts have been proposed of what concepts are. These accounts reflect deeply different conceptions of how the human mind works. In the last decades, two diametrically opposed theories of hum...
Book
Full-text available
Brains have been copying reality imagetically for a few million years. This nervous obsession was essential for constructing consciousness and for creating descriptions of what is as well as predictions of what may be or will be. One curious consequence of this ability, for humans, was the invention of cinema, the art that Vittorio Gallese and Mich...
Preprint
Full-text available
If cognitive neuroscience is meant to investigate what makes us human, cultural artifacts and artistic expressions should be at the top of the list of its explananda. Cognitive neuroscience, in tight cooperation and dialogue with the humanities, can shed new light on several theoretical issues related to aesthetics, traditionally dealt with exclusi...
Article
The main gist of the present article consists in a call to arms for experimental aesthetics, motivated by the conviction that aesthetics is the still poorly investigated key entry point to a deeper understanding of how digital technologies shape our identity, our social relationships and the world where we are living. Aesthetics, as normally concei...
Chapter
In this chapter, we analyze our emotional engagements with fictional characters using embodied cognitive theory. The theory of embodied simulation holds that when reading fictional texts, readers reuse the brain-body mechanisms employed in daily life. There are, however, also key differences between the ways we relate to humans, animals, and other...
Article
Full-text available
Expertise in several areas appears to modulate neurocognitive processes. These processes have been observed to differ in visual arts experts compared to the general population. Here, we aimed to investigate whether visual artists' neural responses to tasks within and outside their field of expertise are contrasting to the responses of non-experts....
Article
Full-text available
The topic of the human face is addressed from a biocultural perspective, focusing on the empirical investigation of how the face is represented, perceived, and evaluated in artistic portraits and self-portraits from the XVth to the XVIIth century. To do so, the crucial role played by the human face in social cognition is introduced, starting from d...
Article
Full-text available
Mirror neurons (MNs) were first described in a seminal paper in 1992 as a class of monkey premotor cells discharging during both action execution and observation. Despite their debated origin and function, recent studies in several species, from birds to humans, revealed that beyond MNs properly so called, a variety of cell types distributed among...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Hypothesis A primary disruption of the bodily self is considered a core feature of schizophrenia (SCZ). The “disembodied” self might be underpinned by inefficient body-related multisensory integration processes, normally occurring in the peripersonal space (PPS), a plastic sector of space surrounding the body whose extent is altered...
Article
Full-text available
In the last decades, the contribution of cognitive neuroscience to fi lm studies has been invested in at least three diff erent lines of research. The fi rst one has to do with fi lm theory and history: the new attention, inspired by cognitive neuroscience, to the viewer's brain-body, the senso-rimotor basis of fi lm cognition, and the forms of emb...
Preprint
Full-text available
Trait empathy is an essential personality feature in the intricacy of typical social inclinations of individuals. Empathy is likely supported by multilevel neuronal network functioning, whereas local topological properties determine network integrity. In the present functional MRI study (N=116), we aimed to trace empathic traits to the intrinsic br...
Article
Full-text available
Citation: Ebisch, S.J.H.; Scalabrini, A.; Northoff, G.; Mucci, C.; Sergi, M.R.; Saggino, A.; Aquino, A.; Alparone, F.R.; Perrucci, M.G.; Gallese, V.; Di Plinio, S.
Article
Full-text available
Depersonalisation is a common dissociative experience characterised by distressing feelings of being detached or 'estranged' from one's self and body and/or the world. The COVID-19 pandemic forcing millions of people to socially distance themselves from others and to change their lifestyle habits. We have conducted an online study of 622 participan...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Anorexia nervosa-restrictive subtype (AN-R) is a life-threatening disorder relying on behavioural abnormalities, such as excessive food restriction or exercise. Such abnormalities may be secondary to an “objectified” attitude toward body image and self. This is the first study exploring the impact of anomalous self-experience (ASEs) on abno...
Article
Abstract We will describe in two articles (“Sense of self and psychosis”, 1 and 2) the theoretical basis and the methodology of a new therapeutic group approach called amniotic therapy, which aims to improve the sense of self of psychotic patients. In this first article we explore the role of the surface of the body and its early sensorimotor inter...
Chapter
In this chapter, the authors comment on their original review published in 2009 in Current Opinion in Neurobiology where, as they build a general theoretical framework that encompasses major empirical work in the field of neuroaesthetics since then, they also emphasize the role of the motor system and emotions in building an aesthetic experience. I...
Article
In this review, we discuss the topic of intersubjectivity and its disruption in Autism Spectrum Disorder, both from a developmental and neuroscientific perspective. We present evidence of the impact of an early neurodevelopmental disorder on the blooming of intersubjective abilities. We propose the existence of a basic, pre-reflective social cognit...
Chapter
In the present essay, we summarize our research in the experimental aesthetics of visual art and cinema, motivated by the following assumptions: 1) Vision is more complex than the mere activation of the ‘visual brain’; 2) Our visual experience of the world is the outcome of multimodal integration processes, with the motor system as key player; 3) A...
Article
Full-text available
Background Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) feel rejected even when socially included. The pathophysiological mechanisms of this rejection bias are still unknown. Using the Cyberball paradigm, we investigated whether patients with BPD, display altered physiological responses to social inclusion and ostracism, as assessed by ch...
Preprint
Several studies demonstrated that the processing of explicit forms of negation recruits motor inhibitory mechanisms. However, whether this is also true for implicit negation, in which the negative meaning is implicated but not explicitly lexicalized in the sentence (e.g., “I ignore”), has never been studied before. This study aims to address this i...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims: Gambling Disorder (GD) entails maladaptive patterns of decision-making. Neurophysiological research points out the effect of parasympathetic arousal, including phasic changes in heart rate variability (HRV), and interoceptive accuracy (IA, i.e., the ability to track changes in bodily signals), on decision-making. Nevertheless,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Depersonalisation is a common dissociative experience characterised by distressing feelings of being detached or ‘estranged’ from one’s self and body and/or the world. The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to socially distance from others and to change life habits. We have conducted an online study on 622 participants worldwide to investi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Depersonalisation is a common dissociative experience characterised by distressing feelings of being detached or 'estranged' from one's self and body and/or the world. The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to socially distance from others and to change life habits. We have conducted an online study on 622 participants worldwide to investi...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Bodily postures are essential to correctly comprehend others' emotions and intentions. Nonetheless, very few studies focused on the pattern of eye movements implicated in the recognition of emotional body language (EBL), demonstrating significant differences in relation to different emotions. A yet unanswered question regards the presence...
Preprint
Full-text available
The meaning of music may rely upon perceived motion (Zuckerkandl, 1971). Recently, the framework of embodied music cognition, which draws on the discovery of mirror neurons and the theory of embodied simulation (Gallese, 2007), makes the claim that our understanding of human-made sounds draws upon our experience of making the same or similar moveme...
Preprint
Full-text available
According to embodied simulation theory, humans tacitly ‘simulate’ the actions of the other by mapping them in the sensorimotor cortex of the brain. According to the framework of embodied cinema, the meaning-making process in film is considered to be inextricably linked to the interrelation between the brain, body and environment of the viewer. Ath...
Article
Full-text available
Empathy for pain involves sensory and visceromotor brain regions relevant also in the first-person pain experience. Focusing on brain activations associated to vicarious experiences of pain triggered by artistic or non-artistic images, the present study aims to investigate common and distinct brain activation patterns associated to these two vicari...
Article
Full-text available
Empathy for pain involves sensory and visceromotor brain regions relevant also in the first-person pain experience. Focusing on brain activations associated to vicarious experiences of pain triggered by artistic or non-artistic images, the present study aims to investigate common and distinct brain activation patterns associated to these two vicari...
Article
Full-text available
In the last decades, the embodied approach to cognition and language gained momentum in the scientific debate, leading to evidence in different aspects of language processing. However, while the bodily grounding of concrete concepts seems to be relatively not controversial, abstract aspects, like the negation logical operator, are still today one o...
Article
In spite of the historically consolidated psychopathological perspective, neuroscientific research applied to schizophrenia has so far almost entirely neglected the first-person experiential dimension of this syndrome, mainly focusing on higher-order cognitive functions such as executive function, working memory, theory of mind, and the like. An al...
Article
On the occasion of our 30th anniversary, the Association of Psychoanalytic Studies would like to open a scientific debate on what has been considered a deep paradigmatic transformation, "the intersubjective revolution". We will host the leading exponents of two different disciplines, Otto Kernberg and Vittorio Gallese. They will evaluate the recipr...
Chapter
Full-text available
The series is the expression of the Center for Research on Teaching of Languages, which in Edizioni Ca’ Foscari also has a magazine, Linguistics Education - Language Education, EL.LE, and a necklace, Intercultural Communication, COMINT, dedicated to this important but overlooked aspect of language mastery. In the series, the volumes of which are ap...
Chapter
Full-text available
Certainly one of the main messages (if not the main) of Simon’s entire scientific career was that of founding the notion of bounded rationality upon cognitive psychology (Simon, 1976). Accordingly, Simon established his notion of bounded rationality in the cognitive psychology thread named ‘cognitivism’ (Haugeland, 1978) – also called ‘information-...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the nature of our social interactions. In order to understand how protective equipment and distancing measures influence the ability to comprehend others' emotions and, thus, to effectively interact with others, we carried out an online study across the Italian population during the first pandemic peak...
Chapter
Although we spend more than ninety percent of our lives inside buildings, we understand very little about how the built environment affects our behavior, thoughts, emotions, and well-being. We are biological beings whose senses and neural systems have developed over millions of years; it stands to reason that research in the life sciences, particul...
Article
In questo articolo proponiamo una modalità con cui la neuroscienza cognitiva può fornire nuovi insight su tre aspetti della cognizione sociale. Intersoggettività, Sé umano e linguaggio. Sottolineiamo il ruolo sociale del corpo, concepito come sor-gente costitutiva della coscienza preriflessiva del Sé e degli altri. Intendiamo fornire una visione cr...
Article
On the occasion of our 30th anniversary, the Association of Psychoanalytic Studies would like to open a scientific debate on what has been considered a deep paradigmatic transformation, the intersubjective revolution. We will host the leading exponents of two different disciplines, Otto Kernberg and Vittorio Gallese. They will evaluate the reciproc...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the nature of our social interactions. In order to understand how protective equipment and distancing measures influence the ability to comprehend others’ emotions and, thus, to effectively interact with others, we carried out an online survey across the Italian population during the first pandemic pea...
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing consensus that our most fundamental sense of self is structured by the ongoing integration of sensory and motor information related to our own body. Depersonalisation (DP) is an intriguing form of altered subjective experience in which people report feelings of unreality and detachment from their sense of self. The current study...
Article
The space surrounding our body, defined as peripersonal space (PPS), is dynamically shaped by our motor experiences. For instance, PPS extends after using a tool to reach far objects. Several studies have demonstrated how PPS size varies across people, depending on different individual characteristics, including schizotypy. Coherently, narrower PPS...
Article
Full-text available
Cardiac synchrony is a crucial component of shared experiences, considered as an objective measure of emotional processes accompanying empathic interactions. No study has investigated whether cardiac synchrony among people engaged in collective situations links to the individual emotional evaluation of the shared experience. We investigated theatri...
Article
Self-alienation is a common characterization of various disturbing experiences in patients with schizophrenia. A vivid example comes frompatient reports of not recognizing themselveswhen inspecting their specular image in the mirror. By applying the multisensory paradigm of the Enfacement Illusion, this study empirically addresses the specular Self...
Chapter
The notion of performativity is addressed from a neuroscientific perspective, connecting it to its underlying neural mechanisms, and to the production and reception of human cultural artifacts. The connection between action, perception and cognition and its bearing on the creation of fictional worlds and their aesthetic experience is framed within...
Article
Studies on the lateralization of facial perception and the asymmetry of facial emotional expressions date back to the 19th century. Several left-side biases have been identified: greater expressivity of the left side of the face, a left cheek bias (i.e. a preference to display one’s left cheek), a left visual field advantage (i.e. a preference and...
Article
Full-text available
Experimental aesthetics has shed light on the involvement of pre-motor areas in the perception of abstract art. However, the contribution of texture perception to aesthetic experience is still understudied. We hypothesized that digital screen-based art, despite its immateriality, might suggest potential sensorimotor stimulation. Original born-digit...
Article
Full-text available
As we identify with characters on screen, we simulate their emotions and thoughts. This is accompanied by physiological changes such as galvanic skin response (GSR), an indicator for emotional arousal, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), referring to vagal activity. We investigated whether the presence of a cinema audience affects these psychop...
Book
Full-text available
Why do people go to the movies? What does it mean to watch a movie? To what extent does our perception of the fictional nature of movies differ from our daily perception of the real world? The authors, a neuroscientist and a film theorist, propose a new multidisciplinary approach to images and film that can provide answers to these questions. Accor...
Chapter
This chapter provides the key neuroscientific data that enable the reader to follow the case studies. The subheadings are “ Cinema, brain and empathy ,” in which the reception of film is discussed, and the notion of empathy is introduced with an outline of its history; “ Body, brain and neuroscience ,” provides a critical account of neuroscience an...
Chapter
This chapter discusses how cinema is able to produce the sense of body immanence, allowing audiences to identify with the characters they see on the screen. The subheadings are “Someone moved, but who?”, in which famous scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious , Robert Montgomery’s Lady in the Lake , and Delmer Daves’ Dark Passage are analyzed, wit...
Chapter
This chapter presents the authors’ view of the future, discussing new digital technologies and mediations and their impact on film and its reception. The subheadings are: “New positioning,” a discussion of the future of film and cinema in the light of new and emerging technologies and the few empirical studies addressing these issues; “Digital pres...
Chapter
This chapter deals with montage. The subheadings are “Calumet City,” a discussion of parallel montage in Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs from the authors’ perspective; “Continuity,” in which continuity editing is addressed in relation to several film scholars and authors, including Joseph Anderson, Lev Kuleshov, and Jean Epstein; “Action,...
Chapter
This chapter discusses close-ups of the face and body in relation to film and neuroscience. The subheadings are “Touching in the mirror,” which introduces and discusses the opening scenes of Ingmar Bergman’s Persona ; “The somatosensory system and multimodality,” which addresses the notion of multimodality, and explains how the brain processes touc...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the role of camera movement in generating the spectator’s immersion in the narrated film plot. The subheadings are “Style,” in which the origins of the notion of style are explained, with a review of how filmic style has been addressed by film scholars; “Moving the camera,” addressing the stylistic role of camera movements in...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated whether in a stimulus–response compatibility (SRC) task affordance effects in response to picture of graspable objects emerge when these objects appear as already grasped. It also assessed whether the observed effects could be explained as due to spatial compatibility between the most salient part in the object/display and t...
Preprint
Full-text available
23 The sense of self lies at the heart of conscious experience, anchoring our disparate 24 perceptions, emotions, thoughts and actions into a unitary whole. There is a growing 25 consensus that sensory information about the body plays a central role in structuring this 26 basic sense of self. Depersonalisation (DP) is an intriguing form of altered...
Preprint
Full-text available
The sense of self lies at the heart of conscious experience, anchoring our disparate perceptions, emotions, thoughts and actions into a unitary whole. There is a growing consensus that sensory information about the body plays a central role in structuring this basic sense of self. Depersonalisation (DP) is an intriguing form of altered subjective e...
Article
Full-text available
Embodied simulation, a basic functional mechanism of our brain, and its neural underpinnings are discussed and connected to intersubjectivity and the reception of human cultural artefacts, like visual arts and film. Embodied simulation provides a unified account of both non-verbal and verbal aspects of interpersonal relations that likely play an im...
Article
Some people diagnosed with “schizophrenia” showed a fundamental alteration of the sense of self. From a psychodynamic perspective, it has been hypothesized that patients diagnosed as schizophrenic have disorders of the embodied self and its boundaries. Phenomenologically, it has been observed a self-disorder, at an implicit and pre-reflective level...
Article
Full-text available
Empathy is a key notion in the study of sociality. A phenomenological perspective on empa-thy as intersubjective understanding offers a common ground for multiple dimensions. Corresponding to the dichotomy between perceptual and cognitive levels, two constructs can be distinguished: vicariously experiencing and intuitively understanding others' emo...
Data
Supporting information EES Text: Descriptions of the additional questionnaires. (DOCX)
Data
Supporting information EES Table 1: Factor loading of items in the construction sample. (DOCX)
Data
Supporting information EES Questionnaire Italian. (DOCX)
Data
Supporting information EES Questionnaire English. (DOCX)
Data
Supporting information EES Table 2: Standardized Factor loadings (λ). (DOCX)
Data
Supporting information EES Table 3: Correlations among the convergent empathy measures (Study 2). (DOCX)
Article
Preferring life to death is deeply rooted in our biology. With the present study, we explored two questions: (1) Can this inclination be transposed to aesthetics, so that a living being is valued as more beautiful than a non‐living being? and (2) Are there any differences in the visual exploration of portrayals of a living compared to a dead human?...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background and aims.– The constitution of a minimal or core Self is rooted in embodied interactions with the others and the world. Disorders in the minimal Self, including disturbances in self- demarcation, are central in schizophrenia spectrum. The “Enfacement Illusion” Experiment (EI) has been adopted to assess the boundary between self and other...