Parmenides Center for Art and Science

Pullach im Isartal, Germany

Parmenides Center for Art and Science

Pullach im Isartal, Germany
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Avram M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Avram M.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Gutyrchik E.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Gutyrchik E.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | And 8 more authors.
Neuroscience Letters | Year: 2013

Recent neuroimaging studies indicate that there may be common ground for esthetic and moral judgments. However, because previous studies focused on either esthetic or moral judgments and did not compare the two directly, the issue remains open whether a common ground actually exists. We employed functional magnetic resonance imaging in order to study, in a within-subjects design, the potential equivalence of esthetic and moral judgments. One-line verses from poems and short moral statements were used as stimuli. Our results suggest a common basis for the two judgment categories, revealing comparable neural networks mainly the orbitomedial prefrontal cortex. However, additional activations were found in the moral judgment condition, that is, in the posterior cingulate cortex, the precuneus, and the temporoparietal junction. These regions have been related to understanding the minds of others. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Gutyrchik E.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Gutyrchik E.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Churan J.,Montreal Neurological Institute | Churan J.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 10 more authors.
Neuroscience Letters | Year: 2010

Analyses of neural mechanisms of duration processing are essential for the understanding of psychological phenomena which evolve in time. Different mechanisms are presumably responsible for the processing of shorter (below 500 ms) and longer (above 500 ms) events but have not yet been a subject of an investigation with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In the present study, we show a greater involvement of several brain regions - including right-hemispheric midline structures and left-hemispheric lateral regions - in the processing of visual stimuli of shorter as compared to longer duration. We propose a greater involvement of lower-level cognitive mechanisms in the processing of shorter events as opposed to higher-level mechanisms of cognitive control involved in longer events. © 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Park M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Park M.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Gutyrchik E.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Gutyrchik E.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | And 13 more authors.
Neuroscience Letters | Year: 2014

Music is known to convey and evoke emotional states. Musical training has been argued to lead to changes in neural architecture and enhanced processing of emotions. It is not clear, however, whether musical training is also associated with changes in behavioral and neural responses to musically conveyed discrete emotions. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the responses to three musically conveyed emotions (happiness, sadness, fear) in a group of musicians and a group of non-musicians. We find that musicians rate sadness and fear as significantly more arousing than non-musicians, and that musical training is associated with specific neural activations: In response to sadness expressed in music, musicians show activation increases in the right prefrontal cortex, specifically in the superior and middle frontal gyri. In response to fear, musicians show activation increases in the right parietal cortex, specifically in the supramarginal and inferior parietal gyri. No specific activations were observed in response to happiness. Our results highlight the strong association between musical training and altered processing of "negative" emotions on both the behavioral and on the neural level. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Park M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Park M.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Hennig-Fast K.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bao Y.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 11 more authors.
Brain Research | Year: 2013

Music communicates and evokes emotions. The number of studies on the neural correlates of musical emotion processing is increasing but few have investigated the factors that modulate these neural activations. Previous research has shown that personality traits account for individual variability of neural responses. In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate how the dimensions Extraversion and Neuroticism are related to differences in brain reactivity to musical stimuli expressing the emotions happiness, sadness and fear. 12 participants (7 female, M=20.33 years) completed the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) and were scanned while performing a passive listening task. Neurofunctional analyses revealed significant positive correlations between Neuroticism scores and activations in bilateral basal ganglia, insula and orbitofrontal cortex in response to music expressing happiness. Extraversion scores were marginally negatively correlated with activations in the right amygdala in response to music expressing fear. Our findings show that subjects' personality may have a predictive power in the neural correlates of musical emotion processing and should be considered in the context of experimental group homogeneity. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Zaytseva Y.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Zaytseva Y.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Zaytseva Y.,Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry | Gutyrchik E.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 14 more authors.
Brain and Cognition | Year: 2014

Understanding the mechanisms involved in perception and conception of oneself is a fundamental psychological topic with high relevance for psychiatric and neurological issues, and it is one of the great challenges in neuroscientific research. The paradigmatic single-case study presented here aimed to investigate different components of self- and other-processes and to elucidate corresponding neurobiological underpinnings. An eminent professional opera singer with profound performance experience has undergone functional magnetic resonance imaging and was exposed to excerpts of Mozart arias, sung by herself or another singer. The results indicate a distinction between self- and other conditions in cortical midline structures, differentially involved in self-related and self-referential processing. This lends further support to the assumption of cortical midline structures being involved in the neural processing of self-specific stimuli and also confirms the power of single case studies as a research tool. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Bao Y.,Peking University | Bao Y.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bao Y.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Fang Y.,Peking University | And 7 more authors.
Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis | Year: 2014

It has been shown recently that temporal order perception is modulated by language environments. The present study focused on the specific question whether a secondary language experience influences temporal order perception by comparing the temporal order thresholds (TOTs) between Chinese subjects with and without a secondary non-tonal language (i.e., English) experience. Besides monaurally presented paired clicks, binaurally presented two different types of tone pairs were used in order to better capture a potential difference between tonal and non-tonal languages. The results showed a non-significant language effect on monaurally presented click TOTs, but a significant language effect for binaurally presented tone TOTs. Compared to click performance, Chinese subjects without English proficiency demonstrated a significantly lower TOT only for close frequency tone pairs, while Chinese subjects with English proficiency demonstrated lower TOTs for both close frequency and distant frequency tone pairs. These results confirm on the one hand a common and language independent temporal mechanism for perceiving the order of two monaurally presented stimuli, and indicate on the other hand specific mechanisms of neuronal plasticity for perceiving the order of frequency-related auditory stimuli for tonal language speakers with or without a secondary non-tonal language experience. © 2014 by Polish Neuroscience Society - PTBUN, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology.


Silveira S.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Silveira S.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Graupmann V.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Frey D.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 13 more authors.
Perception | Year: 2012

How are works of art that present scenes that match potential expectations processed in the brain, in contrast to such scenes that can never occur in real life because they would violate physical laws? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the processing of surrealistic and naturalistic images in visual artworks. Looking at naturalistic paintings leads to a significantly higher activation in the visual cortex and in the precuneus. Humans apparently own a sensitive mechanism even for artistic representations of the visual world to separate the impossible from what potentially matches physical reality. The observation reported here also suggests that sensory input corresponding to a realistic representation of the visual world elicits higher self-referential processing. © 2012 a Pion publication.


Lutz A.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Lutz A.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Nassehi A.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bao Y.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 10 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2013

Visual art because of its artistic context can be related to the general idea of providing alternative perceptual experiences. However, research examining the neural basis of art beyond the paradigm of beauty has been neglected. This study seeks to determine how the perception of a body in an artwork can be distinguished from the perception of a body in a non-artistic photography. While viewing different body representations in both artworks and photographs, subjects were required to evaluate the appeal of the portrayed persons. By using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we show that the perception of a body within the context of art leads to a higher activation in the right parietal cortex and the extrastriate cortex bilaterally. Relating this result to concepts from previous research, we suggest that the perception of art is linked to visuo-spatial coding and also motor mapping. In contrast, the higher activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the primary visual cortex during the perception of a body in a non-artistic frame of reference, i.e. in a photograph, can be linked to processes of person evaluation. Possibly, the task to judge the appeal of a person in a photograph might be more daunting and, thus, cause emotional and even moral challenges being reflected in the ventromedial prefrontal activity. Taken together, perceptual experiences within an artistic vs. a non-artistic frame of reference are based on distinct patterns of neuronal activity. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Avram M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Avram M.,Parmenides Center for Art and Science | Hennig-Fast K.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Bao Y.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 11 more authors.
BMC Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Background: There appears to be an inconsistency in experimental paradigms used in fMRI research on moral judgments. As stimuli, moral dilemmas or moral statements/ pictures that induce emotional reactions are usually employed; a main difference between these stimuli is the perspective of the participants reflecting first-person (moral dilemmas) or third-person perspective (moral reactions). The present study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in order to investigate the neural correlates of moral judgments in either first- or third-person perspective.Results: Our results indicate that different neural mechanisms appear to be involved in these perspectives. Although conjunction analysis revealed common activation in the anterior medial prefrontal cortex, third person-perspective elicited unique activations in hippocampus and visual cortex. The common activation can be explained by the role the anterior medial prefrontal cortex may play in integrating different information types and also by its involvement in theory of mind. Our results also indicate that the so-called "actor-observer bias" affects moral evaluation in the third-person perspective, possibly due to the involvement of the hippocampus. We suggest two possible ways in which the hippocampus may support the process of moral judgment: by the engagement of episodic memory and its role in understanding the behaviors and emotions of others.Conclusion: We posit that these findings demonstrate that first or third person perspectives in moral cognition involve distinct neural processes, that are important to different aspects of moral judgments. These  results are important to a deepened understanding of neural correlates of moral cognition-the so-called " first tradition" of neuroethics, with the caveat that any results must be interpreted and employed with prudence, so as to heed neuroethics " second tradition" that sustains the pragmatic evaluation of outcomes, capabilities and limitations of neuroscientific techniques and technologies. © 2014 Avram et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Peres I.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Vetter C.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Blautzik J.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Reiser M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 6 more authors.
Chronobiology International | Year: 2011

Neuroimaging is increasingly used to study the motor system in vivo. Despite many reports of time-of-day influences on motor function at the behavioral level, little is known about these influences on neural motor networks and their activations recorded in neuroimaging. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the authors studied 15 healthy subjects (9 females; mean±SD age: 23±3 yrs) performing a self-paced finger-tapping task at different times of day (morning, midday, afternoon, and evening). Blood-oxygenation-level-dependent signal showed systematic differences across the day in task-related motor areas of the brain, specifically in the supplementary motor area, parietal cortex, and rolandic operculum (pcorr<.0125). The authors found that these time-of-day-dependent hemodynamic modulations are associated with chronotype and not with homeostatic sleep pressure. These results show that consideration of time-of-day for the analysis of fMRI studies is imperative. © Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

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