Michael J. Banissy's research while affiliated with University of Bristol and other places

Publications (112)

Article
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) describes an atypical multisensory experience of calming, tingling sensations in response to a specific subset of social audiovisual triggers. To date, the electrophysiological (EEG) correlates of ASMR remain largely unexplored. Here we sought to provide source-level signatures of oscillatory changes indu...
Article
Hugging is one of the most common types of affective touch encountered in everyday life. However, little is known about the factors that influence hugging evaluation and behaviour. Here, we aimed to assess how different hugs would be evaluated and whether they can affect mood. Furthermore, we aimed to investigate what kind of arm crossing is common...
Article
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Prior research suggests that different types of touch can affect sleep, but whether there is a consistent association between tactile intimacy and sleep quality is unclear. Here, we report a pre-registered systematic review (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews [PROSPERO], CRD42020158683) of studies examining the association bet...
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak emerged at the end of 2019 and quickly spread around the world. Measures to counter COVID-19, including social distancing and lockdowns, created an unusual situation that had the potential to impact a variety of behaviours, including sleep, which is crucial for health and well-being. Data were obtain...
Article
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Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) describes an atypical multisensory experience of calming, tingling sensations that originate in the crown of the head in response to a specific subset of audio‐visual triggers. There is currently no tool that can accurately classify both ASMR‐Responders and non‐responders, while simultaneously identifying...
Article
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Tests of face processing are typically designed to identify individuals performing outside of the typical range; either prosopagnosic individuals who exhibit poor face processing ability, or super recognisers, who have superior face processing abilities. Here we describe the development of the Oxford Face Matching Test (OFMT), designed to identify...
Preprint
Tests of face processing are typically designed to identify individuals performing outside of the typical range; either prosopagnosic individuals who exhibit poor face processing ability, or super recognisers, who have superior face processing abilities. Here we describe the development of the Oxford Face Matching Test (OFMT), designed to identify...
Article
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A new task (‘CARER’) was used to test claims of reduced empathy in autistic adults. CARER measures emotion identification (ability to identify another’s affective state), affective empathy (degree to which another’s affective state causes a matching state in the Empathiser) and affect sharing (degree to which the Empathiser’s state matches the stat...
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Use of non-invasive brain stimulation methods (NIBS) has become a common approach to study social processing in addition to behavioural, imaging and lesion studies. However, research using NIBS to investigate social processing faces challenges. Overcoming these is important to allow valid and reliable interpretation of findings in neurotypical coho...
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Perception of facial identity and emotional expressions is fundamental to social interactions. Recently, interest in age associated changes in the processing of faces has grown rapidly. Due to the lack of older faces stimuli, most previous age-comparative studies only used young faces stimuli, which might cause own-age advantage. None of the existi...
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Vicarious perception refers to the ability to co-represent the experiences of others. Prior research has shown considerable inter-individual variability in vicarious perception of pain, with some experiencing conscious sensations of pain on their own body when viewing another person in pain (conscious vicarious perception/mirror-pain synaesthesia)....
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In the last 15 years, increasing numbers of individuals have self-referred to research laboratories in the belief that they experience severe everyday difficulties with face recognition. The condition "developmental prosopagnosia" (DP) is typically diagnosed when impairment is identified on at least two objective face-processing tests, usually invo...
Article
Observing others being touched activates similar brain areas as those activated when one experiences a touch oneself. Event-related potential (ERP) studies have revealed that modulation of somatosensory components by observed touch occurs within 100 ms after stimulus onset, and such vicarious effects have been taken as evidence for empathy for othe...
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Experienced meditators often report spontaneous visual imagery during deep meditation in the form of lights or other types of visual images. These experiences are usually interpreted as an “encounters with light” and gain mystical meaning. Contrary to the well-studied intentional and controlled visual imagery, spontaneous imagery is poorly understo...
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Creative cognition requires mental exploration of remotely connected concepts while suppressing dominant ones. Across four experiments using different samples of participants, we provide evidence that right temporal alpha oscillations play a crucial role in inhibiting habitual thinking modes, thereby paving the way for accessing more remote ideas....
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For some people (vicarious pain responders), seeing others in pain is experienced as pain felt on their own body and this has been linked to differences in the neurocognitive mechanisms that support empathy. Given that empathy is not a unitary construct, the aim of this study was to establish which empathic traits are more pronounced in vicarious p...
Article
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High-frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) has been shown to improve a range of cognitive and perceptual abilities. Here we sought to examine the effects of a single session of tRNS targeted at the ventrolateral prefrontal cortices (VLPFC) on face memory in younger and older adults. To do so, we conducted three experiments. In Expe...
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Theoretical accounts of the visual number sense (VNS), i.e., an ability to discriminate approximate numerosities, remain controversial. A proposal that the VNS represents a process of numerosity extraction, leading to an abstract number representation in the brain, has been challenged by the view that the VNS is non-numerical in its essence and amo...
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Face recognition has been the focus of multiple studies, but little is still known on how we represent the structure of one’s own face. Most of the studies have focused on the topic of visual and haptic face recognition, but the metric representation of different features of one’s own face is relatively unknown. We investigated the metric represent...
Article
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Background Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a sensory experience elicited by auditory and visual triggers, which so far received little attention from the scientific community. This self-reported phenomenon is described as a relaxing tingling sensation, which typically originates on scalp and spreads through a person’s body. Recently...
Data
Anonymous data Output containing answers to individual questions and computed final scores. This data has been cleaned and anonymised.
Data
Supplemental Results Results of supplemental analysis conducted on data contributed by individuals recruited outside of social media sites dedicated to ASMR who also reported to experience ASMR
Article
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People with mirror-touch synaesthesia (MTS) report tactile sensations on their own body when seeing another person being touched. Although this has been associated with heightened empathy and emotion perception, this finding has been disputed. Here, we conduct two experiments to explore this relationship further. In Experiment 1, we develop a new s...
Article
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Previous studies have established a role for premotor cortex in the processing of auditory emotional vocalizations. Inhibitory continuous theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation (cTBS) applied to right premotor cortex selectively increases the reaction time to a same-different task, implying a causal role for right ventral premotor cortex (PM...
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Finding creative solutions to difficult problems is a fundamental aspect of human culture and a skill highly needed. However, the exact neural processes underlying creative problem solving remain unclear. Insightful problem solving tasks were shown to be a valid method for investigating one subcomponent of creativity: the Aha!‐moment. Finding insig...
Article
Objectives: To assess whether changes in brain microstructures associated with ageing and presence of cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) reduce the efficacy of transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) improving mood in euthymic older adults. Methods: Using excitatory high-frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) over bilateral dor...
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Facial emotion perception plays a key role in interpersonal communication and is a precursor for a variety of socio-cognitive abilities. One brain region thought to support emotion perception is the inferior frontal cortex (IFC). The current study aimed to examine whether modulating neural activity in the IFC using high frequency transcranial rando...
Data
Table S1 Mean scores and standard deviations for QMTS items, following each tRNS stimulation session in Experiment 1. Table S2 Correlations between Perspective Taking and effects of high frequency tRNS targeted at SI on the ‘self’, ‘other’, ‘dummy’, and ‘sponge’ tasks, in Experiment 1. Table S3 Mean scores and standard deviations for QMTS items, fo...
Article
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Around a quarter of the population report “mirror pain” experiences in which bodily sensations of pain are elicited in response to viewing another person in pain. We have shown that this population of responders further fractionates into two distinct subsets (Sensory/localized and Affective/General), which presents an important opportunity to inves...
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Previous findings suggest that older adults show impairments in the social perception of faces, including the perception of emotion and facial identity. The majority of this work has tended to examine performance on tasks involving young adult faces and prototypical emotions. While useful, this can influence performance differences between groups d...
Article
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The human brain recruits similar brain regions when a state is experienced (e.g., touch, pain, actions) and when that state is passively observed in other individuals. In adults, seeing other people being touched activates similar brain areas as when we experience touch ourselves. Here we show that already by four months of age, cortical responses...
Article
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Our capacity to share the experiences of others is a critical part of social behaviour. One process thought to be important for this is vicarious perception. Passively viewing touch activates some of the same network of brain regions as the direct experience of touch. This vicarious experience is usually implicit, but for some people, viewing touch...
Article
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Touch is our most interpersonal sense, and so it stands to reason that we represent not only our own bodily experiences, but also those felt by others. This review will summarise brain and behavioural research on vicarious tactile perception (mirror touch). Specifically, we will focus on vicarious touch across the lifespan in typical and atypical g...
Article
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Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a self-reported multi-sensory phenomenon described as a pleasant tingling sensation, triggered by certain auditory and visual stimuli, which typically originates at the back of the head and tends to spread throughout the whole body resulting in a relaxed and sedated state. Despite growing reports of AS...
Article
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Discriminating real human faces from artificial can be achieved quickly and accurately by face-processing networks, but less is known about what stimulus qualities or interindividual differences in the perceiver might influence whether a face is perceived as being alive. In the present studies, morphed stimuli differing in levels of animacy were cr...
Article
Vicarious pain perception has been an influential paradigm for investigating the social neuroscience of empathy. This research has highlighted the importance of both shared representations (i.e. involved in both experiencing first-hand physical pain and observing pain) and mechanisms that discriminate between self and other. The majority of this re...
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We solve problems by applying previously learned rules. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a pivotal role in automating this process of rule induction. Despite its usual efficiency, this process fails when we encounter new problems in which past experience leads to a mental rut. Learned rules could therefore act as constraints which n...
Article
Extensive behavioural evidence has shown that older people have declined ability in facial emotion perception. Recent work has begun to examine the neural mechanism that contribute to this, and potential tools to support emotion perception during aging. The aim of this study was to investigate whether high frequency tRNS applied to the inferior fro...
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Sense of agency (SoAg) is the feeling of control over one's actions and their effects. It can be augmented or attenuated by internal signals and by external cues. Research has shown a reduction in the SoAg in older adulthood, but the reasons behind this change remain unclear. We investigated agency processing differences that may underpin age-relat...
Article
In this reply to the eight commentaries to our article (Ward & Banissy, 2015) we discuss three important challenges. Firstly, we discuss the relationship of mirror-touch to other forms of synaesthesia. We note that synaesthetic experiences are generally not mistaken as veridical but this does not mean that they lack percept-like qualities. We ackno...
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Functional brain imaging studies and non-invasive brain stimulation methods have shown the importance of the left supramarginal gyrus (SMG) for pitch memory. The extent to which this brain region plays a crucial role in memory for other auditory material remains unclear. Here, we sought to investigate the role of the left and right SMG in pitch and...
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Synesthetic experiences of color have been traditionally conceptualized as a perceptual phenomenon. However, recent evidence suggests a role of higher order cognition in the formation of synesthetic experiences. Here, we discuss how synesthetic experiences of color differ from and influence veridical color processing, and how non-perceptual process...
Chapter
The ability to share the feelings of others (empathy) is a vital aspect of human social interaction. This topic has been widely studied across a number of domains, with recent findings in social neuroscience shedding light on the neurocognitive processes that are involved in empathy. In this chapter, we review these findings by discussing what cons...
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Synaesthesia is a rare phenomenon in which stimulation in one modality (e.g., audition) evokes a secondary percept not associated with the first (e.g., colour). Prior work has suggested links between synaesthesia and other neurodevelopmental conditions that are linked to altered social perception abilities. With this in mind, here we sought to exam...
Article
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Synaesthesia is a condition in which one property of a stimulus triggers a secondary experience not typically associated with the first (e.g. seeing achromatic graphemes can evoke the perception of colour). Recent work has explored a variety of cognitive and perceptual traits associated with synaesthesia. One example is in the domain of personality...
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We review the evidence that an ability to achieve a precise balance between representing the self and representing other people is crucial in social interaction. This ability is required for imitation, perspective-taking, theory of mind and empathy; and disruption to this ability may contribute to the symptoms of clinical and sub-clinical condition...
Article
Mirror-touch synaesthesia (MTS) is a condition that leads people to experience tactile sensations on their own body when watching at someone else being touched. Recent accounts postulate that MTS is linked with atypical self-other representations. It has been suggested that this may be associated with disturbances in two main components of self-awa...
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The ability to detect deception is of vital importance in human society, playing a crucial role in communication, cooperation, and trade between societies, businesses, and individuals. However, numerous studies have shown, remarkably consistently, that we are only slightly above chance when it comes to detecting deception [1]. Here we investigate w...
Article
For music and language processing, memory for relative pitches is highly important. Functional imaging studies have shown activation of a complex neural system for pitch memory. One region that has been shown to be causally involved in the process for nonmusicians is the supramarginal gyrus (SMG). The present study aims at replicating this finding...
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Although neuroimaging studies have consistently identified the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) as a key brain region involved in social cognition, the literature is far from consistent with respect to lateralization of function. For example, bilateral TPJ activation is found during theory of mind tasks in some studies, but only right hemisphere acti...
Article
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In recent years a variety of neuroimaging studies have highlighted a role of neural oscillations in perception and cognition. However, surprisingly little is known about oscillatory activity underlying facial emotion perception. The limited number of studies that have addressed this question indicate that gamma oscillations are one mechanism underl...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals with mirror touch synaesthesia (MTS) experience touch on their own body when observing others being touched. A recent account proposes that such rare experiences could be linked to impairment in self-other representations. Here we tested participants with MTS on a battery of social cognition tests and found that compared to non-synaesth...
Article
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Faces and voices, in isolation, prompt consistent social evaluations. However, most human interactions involve both seeing and talking with another person. Our main goal was to investigate how facial and vocal information are combined to reach an integrated person impression. In Study 1, we asked participants to rate faces and voices separately for...
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Functional brain imaging studies have highlighted the significance of right-lateralized temporal, frontal and parietal brain areas for memory for melodies. The present study investigated the involvement of bilateral posterior parietal cortices (PPC) for the recognition memory of melodies using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Partici...
Article
Mirror-touch synaesthesia (MTS) is the conscious experience of tactile sensations induced by seeing someone else touched. This paper considers two different, although not mutually exclusive, theoretical explanations and, in the final section, considers the relation between MTS and other forms of synaesthesia and also other kinds of vicarious percep...
Article
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Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated the utility of transcranial current stimulation as a tool to facilitate a variety of cognitive and perceptual abilities. Few studies, though, have examined the utility of this approach for the processing of social information. Here, we conducted 2 experiments to explore whether a single session of hig...
Article
The study introduces a rhythm memory task and compares performance of musicians and non-musicians. The rhythm span task with increasing and decreasing sequence length according to the participants’ performance, measures the individual memory capacity for musical rhythms. Results show that musicians perform significantly better on the rhythm span ta...
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Synesthesia is a rare experience where one property of a stimulus evokes a second experience not associated with the first. For example, in lexical-gustatory synesthesia words evoke the experience of tastes (Ward and Simner, 2003). There are at least 60 known variants of synesthesia (Day, 2013), including reports of synesthetic experiences of color...