Laboratory of Neuropsychology

Lido di Ostia, Italy

Laboratory of Neuropsychology

Lido di Ostia, Italy
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Pitzalis S.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Pitzalis S.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Sereno M.I.,University College London | Committeri G.,University of Chieti Pescara | And 5 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2013

In macaque monkeys, V6A is a visuomotor area located in the anterior bank of the POs, dorsal and anterior to retinotopically-organized extrastriate area V6 (Galletti et al., 1996). Unlike V6, V6A represents both contra- and ipsilateral visual fields and is broadly retinotopically organized (Galletti et al., 1999b). The contralateral lower visual field is over-represented in V6A. The central 20°-30° of the visual field is mainly represented dorsally (V6Ad) and the periphery ventrally (V6Av), at the border with V6. Both sectors of area V6A contain arm movement-related cells, active during spatially-directed reaching movements (Gamberini et al., 2011).In humans, we previously mapped the retinotopic organization of area V6 (Pitzalis et al., 2006). Here, using phase-encoded fMRI, cortical surface-based analysis and wide-field retinotopic mapping, we define a new cortical region that borders V6 anteriorly and shows a clear over-representation of the contralateral lower visual field and the periphery. As with macaque V6A, the eccentricity increases moving ventrally within the area. The new region contains a non-mirror-image representation of the visual field. Functional mapping reveals that, as in macaque V6A, the new region, but not the nearby area V6, responds during finger pointing and reaching movements. Based on similarity in position, retinotopic properties, functional organization and relationship with the neighboring extrastriate visual areas, we propose that the new cortical region is the human homologue of macaque area V6A. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Sulpizio V.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Sulpizio V.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Committeri G.,Advanced Imaging Technologies | Lambrey S.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 4 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2016

The ability to imagine the world from a different viewpoint is a fundamental competence for spatial reorientation and for imagining what another individual sees in the environment. Here, we investigated the neural bases of such an ability using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Healthy participants detected target displacements across consecutive views of a familiar virtual room, either from the perspective of an avatar (primed condition) or in the absence of such a prime (unprimed condition). In the primed condition, the perspective at test always corresponded to the avatar's perspective, while in the unprimed condition it was randomly chosen as 0, 45 or 135 deg of viewpoint rotation. We observed a behavioral advantage in performing a perspective transformation during the primed condition as compared to an equivalent amount of unprimed perspective change. Although many cortical regions (dorsal parietal, parieto-temporo-occipital junction, precuneus and retrosplenial cortex/parieto-occipital sulcus or RSC/POS) were involved in encoding and retrieving target location from different perspectives and were modulated by the amount of viewpoint rotation, the RSC/POS was the only area showing decreased activity in the primed as compared to the unprimed condition, suggesting that this region anticipates the upcoming perspective change. The retrosplenial cortex/parieto-occipital sulcus appears to play a special role in the allocentric coding of heading directions. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Galati G.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Pelle G.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Pelle G.,University of Chieti Pescara | Berthoz A.,Collège de France | Committeri G.,University of Chieti Pescara
Experimental Brain Research | Year: 2010

We review human functional neuroimaging studies that have explicitly investigated the reference frames used in different cortical regions for representing spatial locations of objects. Beyond the general distinction between "egocentric" and "allocentric" reference frames, we provide evidence for the selective involvement of the posterior parietal cortex and associated frontal regions in the specific process of egocentric localization of visual and somatosensory stimuli with respect to relevant body parts ("body referencing"). Similarly, parahippocampal and retrosplenial regions, together with specific parietal subregions such as the precuneus, are selectively involved in a specific form of allocentric representation in which object locations are encoded relative to enduring spatial features of a familiar environment ("environmental referencing"). We also present a novel functional magnetic resonance imaging study showing that these regions are selectively activated, whenever a purely perceptual spatial task involves an object which maintains a stable location in space during the whole experiment, irrespective of its perceptual features and its orienting value as a landmark. This effect can be dissociated from the consequences of an explicit memory recall of landmark locations, a process that further engages the retrosplenial cortex. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Pitzalis S.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Pitzalis S.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Fattori P.,University of Bologna | Galletti C.,University of Bologna
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience | Year: 2013

In macaque, several visual areas are devoted to analyze motion in the visual field, and V6 is one of these areas. In macaque, area V6 occupies the ventral part of the anterior bank of the parieto-occipital sulcus (POs), is retinotopically-organized and contains a point-to-point representation of the retinal surface. V6 is a motion sensitive area that largely represents the peripheral part of the visual field and whose cells are very sensitive to translational motion. Based on the fact that macaque V6 contains many real-motion cells, it has been suggested that V6 is involved in object-motion recognition. Recently, area V6 has been recognized also in the human brain by neuroimaging and electrophysiological methods. Like macaque V6, human V6 is located in the POs, is retinotopically organized, and represents the entire contralateral hemifield up to the far periphery. Human V6, like macaque V6, is a motion area that responds to unidirectional motion. It has a strong preference for coherent motion and a recent combined VEPs/fMRI work has shown that area V6 is even one of the most early stations coding the motion coherence. Human V6 is highly sensitive to flow field and is also able to distinguish between different 3D flow fields being selective to translational egomotion. This suggests that this area processes visual egomotion signals to extract information about the relative distance of objects, likely in order to act on them, or to avoid them. The view that V6 is involved in the estimation of egomotion has been tested also in other recent fMRI studies. Thus, taken together, human and macaque data suggest that V6 is involved in both object and self-motion recognition. Specifically, V6 could be involved in "subtracting out" self-motion signals across the whole visual field and in providing information about moving objects, particularly during self-motion in a complex and dynamically unstable environment. © 2013 Pitzalis, Fattori and Galletti.

Wu W.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Saunders R.C.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Mishkin M.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Turchi J.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory | Year: 2012

Microinfusions of the nonselective muscarinic antagonist scopolamine into perirhinal cortex impairs performance on visual recognition tasks, indicating that muscarinic receptors in this region play a pivotal role in recognition memory. To assess the mnemonic effects of selective blockade in perirhinal cortex of muscarinic receptor subtypes, we locally infused either the m1-selective antagonist pirenzepine or the m2-selective antagonist methoctramine in animals performing one-trial visual recognition, and compared these scores with those following infusions of equivalent volumes of saline. Compared to these control infusions, injections of pirenzepine, but not of methoctramine, significantly impaired recognition accuracy. Further, similar doses of scopolamine and pirenzepine yielded similar deficits, suggesting that the deficits obtained earlier with scopolamine were due mainly, if not exclusively, to blockade of m1 receptors. The present findings indicate that m1 and m2 receptors have functionally dissociable roles, and that the formation of new visual memories is critically dependent on the cholinergic activation of m1 receptors located on perirhinal cells. © 2012.

Rudebeck P.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Mitz A.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Chacko R.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Murray E.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology
Neuron | Year: 2013

We examined the contribution of the amygdala to value signals within orbital prefrontal cortex (OFC) and medial prefrontal cortex (MFC). On each trial, monkeys chose between two stimuli that were associated with different quantities of reward. In intact monkeys, as expected, neurons in both OFC and MFC signaled the reward quantity associated with stimuli. Contrasted with MFC, OFC contained alarger proportion of neurons encoding reward quantity and did so with faster response latencies. Removing the amygdala eliminated these differences, mainly by decreasing value coding in OFC. Similar decreases occurred in OFC immediately before and after reward delivery. Although the amygdala projects to both OFC and MFC, we found that it has its greatest influence over reward-value coding in OFC. Notably, amygdala lesions did not abolish value coding in OFC, which shows that OFC's representations of the value of objects, choices, and outcomes depends, in large part, on other sources. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Sulpizio V.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Sulpizio V.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Boccia M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Boccia M.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | And 4 more authors.
Hippocampus | Year: 2016

Individuals vary widely in their ability to orient and navigate within the environment. Previous neuroimaging research has shown that hippocampus (HC) and scene-responsive regions (retrosplenial complex [RSC] and parahippocampal gyrus/parahippocampal place area [PPA]) were crucial for spatial orienting and navigation. Resting-state functional connectivity and a self-reported questionnaire of navigational ability were used to examine the hypothesis that the pattern of reciprocal connections between these regions reflects individual differences in spatial navigation. It was found that the functional connectivity between the posterior HC and RSC was significantly higher in good than in poor navigators. These results confirmed the crucial role of hippocampal and extra-hippocampal regions in spatial navigation and provided new insight into how spontaneous brain activity may account for individual differences in spatial ability. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Liu N.,Laboratory of Brain and Cognition | Hadj-Bouziane F.,Laboratory of Brain and Cognition | Hadj-Bouziane F.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | Jones K.B.,Laboratory of Brain and Cognition | And 4 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Increasing evidence has shown that oxytocin (OT), a mammalian hormone, modifies the way social stimuli are perceived and the way they affect behavior. Thus, OT may serve as a treatment for psychiatric disorders, many of which are characterized by dysfunctional social behavior. To explore the neural mechanisms mediating the effects of OT in macaque monkeys, we investigated whether OT would modulate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) responses in face-responsive regions (faces vs. blank screen) evoked by the perception of various facial expressions (neutral, fearful, aggressive, and appeasing). In the placebo condition, we found significantly increased activation for emotional (mainly fearful and appeasing) faces compared with neutral faces across the face-responsive regions. OT selectively, and differentially, altered fMRI responses to emotional expressions, significantly reducing responses to both fearful and aggressive faces in face-responsive regions while leaving responses to appeasing as well as neutral faces unchanged. We also found that OT administration selectively reduced functional coupling between the amygdala and areas in the occipital and inferior temporal cortex during the viewing of fearful and aggressive faces, but not during the viewing of neutral or appeasing faces. Taken together, our results indicate homologies between monkeys and humans in the neural circuits mediating the effects of OT. Thus, the monkey may be an ideal animal model to explore the development of OT-based pharmacological strategies for treating patients with dysfunctional social behavior. © 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Sulpizio V.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Committeri G.,Advanced Imaging Technologies | Galati G.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology | Galati G.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Keeping oriented in the environment is a multifaceted ability that requires knowledge of at least three pieces of information: one’s own location (“place”) and orientation (“heading”) within the environment, and which location in the environment one is looking at (“view”). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in humans to examine the neural signatures of these information. Participants were scanned while viewing snapshots which varied for place, view and heading within a virtual room. We observed adaptation effects, proportional to the physical distances between consecutive places and views, in scene-responsive (retrosplenial complex and parahippocampal gyrus), fronto-parietal and lateral occipital regions. Multivoxel pattern classification of signals in scene-responsive regions and in the hippocampus allowed supra-chance decoding of place, view and heading, and revealed the existence of map-like representations, where places and views closer in physical space entailed activity patterns more similar in neural representational space. The pattern of hippocampal activity reflected both view- and place-based distances, the pattern of parahippocampal activity preferentially discriminated between views, and the pattern of retrosplenial activity combined place and view information, while the fronto-parietal cortex only showed transient effects of changes in place, view, and heading. Our findings provide evidence for the presence of map-like spatial representations which reflect metric distances in terms of both one’s own and landmark locations. © 2014 Sulpizio, Committeri and Galati.

Di Russo F.,Foro Italico University of Rome | Spinelli D.,Laboratory of Neuropsychology
Psychophysiology | Year: 2010

We measured ERPs of professional boxers in a Go/No-Go task, comparing them to fencers and non-athletes. Results showed that fencing improved attention and motor response control, but boxing did not. More strikingly, in boxers, as in brain trauma patients, the P3 component was delayed and reduced. The P3 delay of boxers was correlated with the amount of performed sport exercise. Furthermore, in terms of behavior, boxers showed increased intra-individual variability and switch cost. Results were consistent with the hypothesis of specific impairment at the level of response inhibition processing. We suggest that this impairment is derived from the cumulative effect of blows to the head. The changes found in boxers suggest that ERPs and reaction times may be a tool for early detection of specific brain dysfunction. © 2009 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

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