Professor Adriana Fiorentini: 1/11/1926 – 29/2/2016
Nicoletta Berardi, Concetta Morrone, Donatella Spinelli - Perception - in press
Adriana Fiorentini was for many decades a pillar of the CNR Institute for Neurophysiology (then Neuroscience). On the 29th February 2016 she passed away peacefully in her sleep, with a smile. A whole generation of vision scientists remembers her with love and respect. Her wisdom, intelligence, dedication to science, enthusiasm for research and love of knowledge set an example to us all. She was a role model of respect, generosity, patience, collaboration and true humility: discrete and reserved, always there for her students and colleagues. Born and schooled in Milan, she graduated in Physics in 1948 at the University of Florence, studying optics under Professor Giuliano Toraldo di Francia at the National Institute of Optics in Arcetri.
During her studies she noticed a strange contrast phenomenon, which she correctly interpreted as the visual illusion known as “Mach Bands”: this observation was fundamental in shifting her research interests towards visual perception. In her early post-graduate years at Arcetri (1948-1968), Adriana published many innovative studies on physiological optics and perception, which are cited to this day. To mention just two: the seminal demonstration of human receptive fields (or “perceptive fields”) defined by antagonistic center‐surround interactions; and her first (but not last) Nature paper (with Donald MacKay of Keele), demonstrating a neural (VEP) correlate of a perceptual phenomenon ...[PDF]
Lunghi, C., Morrone, M. C., Secci, J. & Caputo, R. (2016). Binocular Rivalry Measured 2 Hours After Occlusion Therapy Predicts the Recovery Rate of the Amblyopic Eye in Anisometropic Children, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 4 (57), 1537-1546. PDF
Adriana Fiorentini (1/11/1926 - 29/2/2016)
Adriana Fiorentini passed away peacefully in her sleep last Monday. Adriana was an inspirational pillar of the Pisa Vision Laboratory and leading international visual scientist for over half a century. She was well loved by all her colleagues and students who had the privilege to work with and learn from her. We will miss her.
Shi, Z. & Burr, D. (2016). Predictive coding of multisensory timing, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, (8), 200-206. PDF
The sense of time is foundational for perception and action, yet it frequently departs significantly from physical time. In the paper we review recent progress on temporal contextual effects, multisensory temporal integration, temporal recalibration, and related computational models. We suggest that subjective time arises from minimizing prediction errors and adaptive recalibration, which can be unified in the framework of predictive coding, a framework rooted in Helmholtz's ‘perception as inference’.
New Research published in Current Biology
Congratulations to Claudia who managed to publish yet another original research paper on Current Biology!
Lunghi, C. & Sale, A. (2015). A cycling lane for brain rewiring, Curr Biol, 23 (25), R1122-R1123. PDF
Brain plasticity, defined as the capability of cerebral neurons to change in response to experience, is fundamental for behavioral adaptability, learning, memory, functional development, and neural repair. The visual cortex is a widely used model for studying neuroplasticity and the underlying mechanisms. Plasticity is maximal in early development, within the so-called critical period, while its levels abruptly decline in adulthood . Recent studies, however, have revealed a significant residual plastic potential of the adult visual cortex by showing that, in adult humans, short-term monocular deprivation alters ocular dominance by homeostatically boosting responses to the deprived eye [2-4]. In animal models, a reopening of critical period plasticity in the adult primary visual cortex has been obtained by a variety of environmental manipulations, such as dark exposure, or environmental enrichment, together with its critical component of enhanced physical exercise [5-8]. Among these non-invasive procedures, physical exercise emerges as particularly interesting for its potential of application to clinics, though there has been a lack of experimental evidence available that physical exercise actually promotes visual plasticity in humans. Here we report that short-term homeostatic plasticity of the adult human visual cortex induced by transient monocular deprivation is potently boosted by moderate levels of voluntary physical activity. These findings could have a bearing in orienting future research in the field of physical activity application to clinical research.
New Research published in Journal of Physiology
Congratulations to Claudia and Maria Concetta, whose work has been published on Journal of Physiology and is the issue's cover article!
Lunghi, C., Berchicci, M., Morrone, M. C. & Di Russo, F. (2015). Short-term monocular deprivation alters early components of visual evoked potentials, J Physiol, 19 (593), 4361-4372.PDF
Very little is known about plasticity in the adult visual cortex. In recent years psychophysical studies have shown that short-term monocular deprivation alters visual perception in adult humans. Specifically, after 150 min of monocular deprivation the deprived eye strongly dominates the dynamics of binocular rivalry, reflecting homeostatic plasticity. Here we investigate the neural mechanisms underlying this form of short-term visual cortical plasticity by measuring visual evoked potentials (VEPs) on the scalp of adult humans during monocular stimulation before and after 150 min of monocular deprivation. We found that monocular deprivation had opposite effects on the amplitude of the earliest component of the VEP (C1) for the deprived and non-deprived eye stimulation. C1 amplitude increased (+66%) for the deprived eye, while it decreased (-29%) for the non-deprived eye. Source localization analysis confirmed that the C1 originates in the primary visual cortex. We further report that following monocular deprivation, the amplitude of the peak of the evoked alpha spectrum increased on average by 23% for the deprived eye and decreased on average by 10% for the non-deprived eye, indicating a change in cortical excitability. These results indicate that a brief period of monocular deprivation alters interocular balance in the primary visual cortex of adult humans by both boosting the activity of the deprived eye and reducing the activity of the non-deprived eye. This indicates a high level of residual homeostatic plasticity in the adult human primary visual cortex, probably mediated by a change in cortical excitability.
- New Research published - September 2015
- The oblique effect is both allocentric and egocentric
- Strong Motion Deficits in Dyslexia Associated with DCDC2 Gene Alteration
- A low-cost and versatile system for projecting wide-field visual stimuli within fMRI scanners
- Short-Term Monocular Deprivation Alters GABA in the Adult Human Visual Cortex
- Children with autism spectrum disorder show reduced adaptation to number
- ass. Sante Malatesta
- rhyhtmic oscillations
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