Objectives: The use of noninvasive cortical electrical stimulation with weak currents has significantly increased in basic and clinical human studies. Initial, preliminary studies with this technique have shown encouraging results; however, the safety and tolerability of this method of brain stimulation have not been sufficiently explored yet. The purpose of our study was to assess the effects of direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) stimulation at different intensities in order to measure their effects on cognition, mood, and electroencephalogram. Methods: Eighty-two healthy, right-handed subjects received active and sham stimulation in a randomized order. We conducted 164 ninety-minute sessions of electrical stimulation in 4 different protocols to assess safety of (1) anodal DC of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC); (2) cathodal DC of the DLPFC; (3) intermittent anodal DC of the DLPFC and; (4) AC on the zygomatic process. We used weak currents of 1 to 2 mA (for DC experiments) or 0.1 to 0.2 mA (for AC experiment). Results: We found no significant changes in electroencephalogram, cognition, mood, and pain between groups and a low prevalence of mild adverse effects (0.11% and 0.08% in the active and sham stimulation groups...
L’analisi storica delle fasi salienti dello studio della discriminazione percettiva nel corso del Novecento intende mostrare l’importanza della distinzione tra i processi percettivi di individuazione degli oggetti visivi ed i processi cognitivi di identificazione per costruire un’epistemologia autenticamente naturalizzata, evidenziando:
1) come l’accusa di irrilevanza filosofica che Wittgenstein ha mosso alla tesi dell’autonomia della visione, intesa come organizzazione dinamica proto-oggettuale del campo visivo, secondo l’articolazione fornita dalla psicologia della Gestalt, ha contribuito profondamente alla genesi degli aspetti più radicalmente costruttivistici e all’esito incommensurabilista delle epistemologie post-popperiane
2) come la tesi dell’autonomia della visione nelle differenti versioniemergenti nel panorama delle scienze cognitive, possa contribuire all’edificazione di una epistemologa naturalizzata di tipo cognitivistico secondo le linee suggerite da R. N. Giere e in accordo con lo “spirito” delle indicazioni quineane
3) come una corretta distinzione tra discriminazione percettiva e identificazione permetta sia di accogliere i suggerimenti che provengono dalla filosofia analitica sull’esistenza di contenuti rappresentativi mentali non-concettuali sia fornire un’originale...
In the last decades, the improvement of technology provided sophisticated systems necessary in “operational environments” where individual and environmental safety is at risk. Most systems acquire information from the environment, detect hazards and spread communications for “operator” support. In the operational environments involving human-systems interaction the operator is usually required to allocate his/her attention for monitoring the systems for long periods. Different sources of information (e.g., external environments or other operators) and its typology (e.g., visual or auditory) are designed in developing “complex systems” in order to solve the work overload problem. In Human Factors / Ergonomics (HF/E) domain the mental workload measure is widely accepted to be the most reliable approach to access both operator functional state (OFS) and human performance factors. However, a further construct named as “Situation Awareness” (SA) has been introduced in order to better understand the OFS in complex environments. Endsley (1995) provided a formal definition of SA as the individuals’ ability to (a) perceive elements in the environment within a volume of time and space, (b) comprehend their meaning, and (c) predict their status in the near future. Although...
Studies in human and non-human primates indicate that basic socio-cognitive operations are inherently linked to the power of gaze in capturing reflexively the attention of an observer. Here I report a series of behavioral and neural investigation studies that I and my collaborators have conducted on the modulation of this automatic social behavior by high order factors as politics. In particular, we showed that Gaze following behavior is permeable to social identities within the political domain, individual differences in ideology and personality and low level facial features that drive our inferences on the personality of a character. Furthermore I discussed which are the social processes that underly this basic social cognitive behavior and sketched future directions to better clarify this issue.
L’attuale enfasi biomedica per la diagnosi precoce del deterioramento cognitivo, che ha il suo perno concettuale nell’etichetta diagnostica di Mild Cognitive Impairment, caratterizza un approccio biomedico alla malattia di Alzheimer focalizzato sull’individuazione dei suoi stadi preclinici nella prospettiva di anticipare gli interventi farmacologici, dai blandi effetti sulla condizione conclamata, per procrastinare l’avvento della patologia. La nascita di categorie prodromiche per la malattia di Alzheimer si inserisce in una più lunga storia di mutamenti concettuali intervenuti a riqualificare il declino cognitivo che si verifica in età avanzata, in cui concezioni preesistenti di “senilità”, “demenza” e “normalità nel processo di invecchiamento” sono state oggetto di corrispondenti dinamiche di rimodulazione.
La ricostruzione della genesi storico-culturale della nozione di “malattia di Alzheimer”, in dialogo con le riflessioni precedenti sulla demenza senile e sul suo carattere fisiologico o patologico offre la possibilità di ripensare le categorie biomediche mettendo in luce la stretta interrelazione che la produzione del sapere medico-scientifico e la strutturazione delle realtà mediche intrattengono con i contesti socioculturali...
With the present work, we contribute to the study of context in organizational research
by presenting the concept of Perceptions of social Context (PoC; Borgogni, 2001) and its
operationalization. We situate our proposal within Johns’s model (2006) and we refer to
discrete context, specifically privileging the social aspects of context. With social context we
consider the social structure, that is the set of the most relevant constituencies internal to the
organization (i.e., immediate supervisor, colleagues and top management), the way they fulfill
their social roles and reciprocally interact at work (Bales, 1953; Steiner, 1972). Moreover, we
focus on perceptions of the prototypical behaviors enacted by each social constituency to
include the lens through which context can be viewed by individuals and the role played by
the person in catching the more salient aspects of the observed phenomena. In fact, with our
proposal we intend to connect the study of context with a psychological theory, that is Social
Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986; Wood & Bandura, 1989). According to the “reciprocal
triadic determinism” posited by Bandura (1986), person, environment and behavior are
involved in an interdependent casual structure. Thus, people are both products and producers
of the environment...
Cognitive psychology research focused on the relationship between automatic and controlled cognition referring to split-second decisions (Payne, 2001, 2006) and examined the effect that race as an ethnic group factor leads to a response bias in shooting decisions using videogame-like tasks (Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2002; Correll et al., 2007). A weapon bias was reported in judgement denoted as a perceptual weapon-tool classification (Payne, 2001, 2006) and as a behavioural shoot-do not shoot decision (Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2002; Correll et al., 2007; Greenwald, Oakes, & Hoffman, 2003). The aim of this research was to investigate the impact of arousal, valence and content of IAPS pictures on measures of perceptive sensitivity (d’), response bias (c) and reaction times (RTs). Two Weapon Identification Tasks (WIT) and two First Person Shooting Tasks (FPST) were performed manipulating emotional and arousing contents of visual stimuli. Findings are consistent with the hypothesis that affective modulation influences response bias activation and performance, and that content of stimuli amplifies the effect size.
Information relevant for our social life are immediately processed by our brain. When
we walk in the street we easily and quite automatically adjust our path to avoid colliding
other people. Several social activities like working in a group, playing a sport, talking
with people and many others, all require the ability to carefully read others movements.
Thus, kinematics and postural information of others‟ body are a fundamental medium
for good survival in our social environment.
Along the reading of this manuscript a series of extensive and novel studies will
describe the role of sensorimotor cortices and their differential contribution in specific
action observation tasks. By means of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) we
tested in healthy subjects both low and high cognitive level processes that may require
areas of the action observation network.
The present work contributes to the study of attendance behaviors by analyzing the agentic and proactive components of individual behaviors, strongly required in the
today’s work situation in order to facilitate people in handling competition, actively shaping changes and taking advantages from it. In fact, rooted in the social-cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986), the current work stresses the role of self-efficacy in directly and indirectly impacting the decision to take a day-off or to attend work despite unhealthy medical conditions. Additionally, in line with the importance of adopting a longitudinal approach (Mason & Griffin, 2003) and including social dynamics (Johns, 1997) in the study of absenteeism, the current work explores temporal variations in absences and tests how social context can explain changes across time. For this latter purpose, social context has been conceptualized through the perceptions of social
context (PoSC; Borgogni, Dello Russo, Di Tecco, Alessandri, & Vecchione, 2011), operationalized as the individuals’ perceptions of the most relevant social constituencies of the
organization (i.e., immediate supervisor, colleagues and top management) and of their behaviors.
Finally, according to a psychological view of presenteeism (Johns...
In the framework of social representations theory, this dissertation presents a two-fold research aimed at identifying social representations of Warsaw and Rome, according to the modelling approach. The first population under scrutiny includes 210 subjects from seven different nationalities who visit Warsaw for the first time. Their perception of the city before and after the visit is studied, taking into account their place identity, information sources and cognitive maps produced. The second population includes 30 Italian expat residents in Warsaw, and 30 Polish expat residents in Rome. Their social representations emerging from questionnaires and interviews are compared, according to modeling approach that tests a series of interrelated hypotheses. Each level of the research not only complements the other levels, but also helps to better understand the findings as a whole. Altogether, the research presents a complex picture of the cities of Warsaw and Rome, imagined and experienced, from the points of view of visitors and expat residents, based on perceptions expressed in writing, in speech and through graphic-projective techniques.
This thesis describes a PhD project is based on the notion that we live our whole life dipped into an interactive social environment where we observe and act together with others and where our behavior is influenced by first sight impressions, social categorizations and stereotypes which automatically and unavoidably arise during interactions. Nevertheless, the bidirectional impact of interpersonal coding on dyadic motor interactions has never been directly investigated. Moreover, the neurocognitive bases of social interaction are still poorly understood. In particular, in every-day dyadic encounters we usually interact with others in non-imitative fashions (Sebanz et al. 2006), challenging the hypothesis of a direct matching between action observation and action execution within one system (“common coding approach”, Prinz 1997), which is instead supported by neurophysiological data on the so called “mirror neurons”(Rizzolatti and Sinigaglia 2010) which fire both during action execution and observation of similar actions performed by others. Suggestion is made that what characterizes joint action is the presence of a common goal (i.e. the “shared” goal, Butterfill 2012) which organizes individuals’ behaviour and channel simulative processes.
During her PhD...
I linguaggi politici nella modernità hanno subito, ancor più fortemente di altri, l’emergere della dimensione multimediale frutto dello sviluppo tecnologico. Il codice propriamente verbale-linguistico riveste ormai solo una parte del nucleo significativo dell’accadere politico. La comunicazione politica, ora deve comprendere qualsiasi evento in grado di essere trasmesso e quindi guardato da un soggetto/elettore. Servono dunque strumenti concettuali diversi. Proprio perché la comunicazione politica comprende ogni “manifestazione ostensiva”, essa deve comprendere una visione dell’uomo e del suo stare al mondo moderna e coerente che ci permetta di capire il più possibile le dinamiche attraverso cui l’uomo dà senso e significato a un messaggio, non in quanto enunciato linguistico ma in quanto “segno”, qualsiasi sia la sua dimensione contestuale.
Il progetto di ricerca consiste in tre parti principali. Nella prima si analizza il paradigma della mente descritto dalle scienze cognitive di recente formazione creando le basi per l’analisi dei fenomeni appartenenti a ciò che oggi è da ritenersi comunicazione politica operando una integrazione tra approcci diversi in una prospettiva integrata. Nella seconda parte si svolge un’analisi estensiva delle elezioni politiche del 2012-2013 mettendo in luce le strutture ricorrenti che rappresentano una particolare identità soprattutto analizzando l’uso dell’immagine e di un linguaggio sincretico di tipo metaforico che ben si applica ai mezzi di comunicazione più moderni che in tempi recenti rivestono un’importanza sempre maggiore. Nella terza parte si traggono le conclusioni mostrando i risultati dell’analisi svolta e proponendo futuri sviluppi nel campo di ricerca in oggetto.; Sapienza University of Rome; George Lakoff at University of California...
La ricerca ha avuto come obiettivo quello di investigare la nascita e lo sviluppo del paradigma sicuritario sull’immigrazione in Italia, attraverso un raffronto tra l'analisi comparativa delle leggi italiane sull’immigrazione e l'analisi dei discorsi parlamentari che hanno accompagnato il dibattito e l'approvazione delle medesime leggi.
L'intento è stato quello di ricostruire la genealogia del paradigma sicuritario in relazione alla questione migratoria, attraverso l'osservazione dei rapporti che intercorrono tra produzione normativa e produzione discorsiva sull'immigrazione come fenomeno da controllare e sull'immigrato come oggetto su cui si esercitano specifici saperi e poteri.
A partire dagli studi foucaultiani sulla governamentalità e la nascita della biopolitica, si è provato a definire il rapporto che intercorre tra neoliberalismo e le strategie di governance dei flussi migratori, osservando come la questione migratoria si ponga come corollario delle trasformazioni sicuritarie che accompagnano lo sviluppo del neoliberalismo come specifica forma di governo.
Si è cercato di definire come tanto le strutture oggettive (leggi, emendamenti, decreti attuativi), quanto le strutture "cognitive" dei discorsi concorrano a definire la figura dell'immigrato e in che misura i costrutti sociali che ne derivano...
A successful human-environment interaction requires a continuous integration of information
concerning body parts, object features and affective dynamics. Multiple neuropsychological
studies show that tools can be integrated into the representation of one's own body. In
particular, a tool that participates in the conscious movement of the person is added to the
dynamic representation the body – often called “Body schema” – and may even affect social
interaction. In light of this the wheelchair is treated as an extension of the disabled body,
essentially replacing limbs that don't function properly, but it can also be a symbol of frailty
In a series of experiments, I studied plastic changes of action, tool and body representation in
individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Due to their peripheral loss of sensorimotor
functions, in the absence of brain lesions and spared higher order cognitive functions, these
patients represent an excellent model to study this topic in a multi-faceted way, investigating
both fundamental mechanisms and possible therapeutic interventions.
In a series of experiments, I developed new behavioral methods to measure the
phenomenological aspects of tool embodiment (Chapter 3), to study its functional and neural
correlates (Chapter 4) and to assess the possible computational model underpinning these
phenomena (Chapter 5). These tasks have been used to describe changes in tool...
Improved methods for early diagnosis and non-invasive surrogates of disease severity in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are becoming a modern challenge. Magnetic resonance (MR) techniques are being evaluated as possible surrogate measures of disease progression. The purpose of this work was to correlate the results of combined advanced MRtechniques with neuropsychological performance in order to identify a sensible and sensitive imaging approach to neurodegenerative quantification disease progression. We enrolled 19 patientswith Alzheimer's disease (9 males and 10 females, with a mean age of 74±8). Mean MMSE score of AD patients was 20 ±6.
All the AD patients underwent a brain magnetic resonance imaging examinations and a battery of neuropsychological test which included Milan Overoll Dementia Assessment (MODA), Raven's Progressive Matrices, Visual Search, Digit Span, Rey list, prose memory, constructional apraxia, phonological and semantic fluency, and trail making. We measured regional cortical thickness, surfaces and volumes using a set of automated tools (Freesurfer) to reconstruct the brain's cortical surface from T1-weighted three-dimensional volumetric brain magnetic resonance imaging.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy was carried out in the temporal lobes...
The main purpose of the present investigation was to evaluate individual differences in multistable perception in relation to electrocortical measures.
Multistable figures, in fact, allow two or more equally plausible interpretations, without changes in their physical characteristics. Perceptual multistability has encountered a constant interest, over the years, from psychological researchers because it reflects the mechanisms of perceptual organization when the information from environment is vague or inconsistent. According to a constructivist view, an ambiguous figure is good investigating tool for highlighting the role of unconscious inferences, expectations, knowledge and attention in perception.
Although there are many studies and researches on multistable perception, the neural mechanisms underlying the construction of the perceptual pattern are not yet completely understood. This is mainly due to the fact that the amount of experimental findings continues to bring evidence in favor of two basic theoretical hypotheses, without succeeding in fully support one or the other interpretation. One possible explanation focuses on passive bottom-up processes while another supports top-down influences. In a comprehensive and detailed review...
All of the experiments presented in this dissertation focus on people's risk taking. In order to shed light on mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, I point out how emotions (i.e., anticipated emotions, integral emotions, anticipated regret, and emotion regulation strategies) and individuals' goal-oriented self-regulation (i.e., regulatory mode) affect risky behaviors. First – in the present dissertation – I introduce a comprehensive series of three studies (i.e., chapter 2) demonstrating whether and how individuals' regulatory modes affect individual differences in taking risky choices. I further focus on the role of anticipated regret to explain how it arises from regulatory mode, and in turn, affects risk taking. In keeping with this view, the present work sheds light on mechanisms underlying the relationships among decision-maker's regulatory mode, anticipated emotions and risk taking. Second (i.e., chapter 3), I introduce a relatively new theory studied in decision-making research (Emotion Regulation Theory; ER, Gross & John, 2003), demonstrating how ER strategies adopted from people predict risky choices occurring in deliberative processes (i.e., processes which predominantly involve anticipated emotions). But the present work does more than this. Indeed...
In base alle più comuni definizioni della parola passione, sembra delinearsi un quadro nel quale alcuni stati emotivi - alcuni relativamente stabili alcuni altri no - presentano fondamentalmente il carattere dell'eccesso e della sofferenza acuta. Delle passioni, più in particolare, sulla base della definizione del dizionario, appare dominante il carattere perturbante: la ragione, il giudizio, l'equilibrio, a loro contrapposti, sono condannati a subirne, a patirne, gli attacchi. L'universo del non-razionale, in tal senso, apparirebbe contraddistinto, non solo dall'assenza del logos, ma dalla presenza di slanci esplosivi volti alla negazione e alla distruzione di questo. Tra l'irrazionale, l'irragionevole e l'eccessivo costituirebbero una forza dirompente, difficilmente controllabile. Tali definizioni, in realtà, sembrano riprendere, semplificandola, la lunghissima e complessa tradizione che dall'epica omerica alle scienze cognitive contemporanee ha affrontato il tema delle passioni. Ad una di esse, quella primigenia dell'ira, è dedicato questo contributo di indagine lessico-sintattica.; On the basis of most common definitions of the word passion, it seems to delineate a picture in which some emotional states present the character of excess and acute pain. According to dictionary definitions...