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New Research in Behaioural Brain Research

Congratulations to Eckart, Concetta and David, whose latest paper has just been accepted for publication in Behavioural Brain Research!

Zimmermann, E., Morrone, M. C. & Burr, D. C. (2014). Buildup of spatial information over time and across eye-movements,Behavioural brain research, PDF

To interact rapidly and effectively with our environment, our brain needs access to a neural represen-tation of the spatial layout of the external world. However, the construction of such a map poses majorchallenges, as the images on our retinae depend on where the eyes are looking, and shift each time wemove our eyes, head and body to explore the world. Research from many laboratories including ourown suggests that the visual system does compute spatial maps that are anchored to real-world coordi-nates. However, the construction of these maps takes time (up to 500 ms) and also attentional resources.We discuss research investigating how retinotopic reference frames are transformed into spatiotopicreference-frames, and how this transformation takes time to complete. These results have implicationsfor theories about visual space coordinates and particularly for the current debate about the existence ofspatiotopic representations.

Concetta is officially a lynx: a member of the Accademia dei Lincei, the Italian equivalent of the Royal Society and the American Academy of Science, founded in 1603 !!!

Special Issues on Multisensory Research

Multisensory research is calling for papers to appear in four special issues due publishing by mid-2015

Special Issue on Multimodality of Early Sensory Processing
Guest Editors: Paola Binda, Guido Marco Cicchini and Roberto Arrighi
Deadline is 31 October 2014. Click here for more details.

Special Issue on Multisensory Development and Plasticity
Guest Editors: Monica Gori and Ileana Hanganu-Opatz
Deadline is 30 September 2014. Click here for more details.

Special Issue on Vestibular Cognition
Guest Editors:  Laurence Harris and Elisa Ferrè
Deadline is 1 October 2014. Click here for more details.

Special Issue on Understanding the Correspondences
Guest Editors:  Charles Spence, Ophelia Deroy and Cesare V. Parise,
Deadline is 1 October 2014. Click here for more details.

Online submission: Articles for publication in Multisensory Research can be submitted online through Editorial Manager, please click here.

Multisensory Research is an interdisciplinary archival journal covering all aspects of multisensory processing including the control of action, cognition and attention. Research using any approach to increase our understanding of multisensory perceptual, behavioural, neural and computational mechanisms is encouraged. Empirical, neurophysiological, psychophysical, brain imaging, clinical, developmental, mathematical and computational analyses are welcome. Research will also be considered covering multisensory applications such as sensory substitution, crossmodal methods for delivering sensory information or multisensory approaches to robotics and engineering. Short communications and technical notes that draw attention to new developments will be included, as will reviews and commentaries on current issues. Special issues dealing with specific topics will be announced from time to time. Multisensory Research is a continuation of Seeing and Perceiving and of Spatial Vision.

New Research in Journal of Neuroscience

Congratulations to Alice, Monica e Concetta for their research just published in JN

The research shows that time intervals are compressed around the time of hand movement to produce distortions of perceived time similar to those reposted for visual motion. Taken together these results suggest common strategies within different sensorimotor systems to achieve perceptual stability

The full text of the article can be found here: PDF

New Research in PNAS

Congratulations to Marco, Giovanni and Dave for their research just published in PNAS

The research shows that people are consistently drawn towards the past trials when making numerical judgements. Their analysis shows that such behaviour leads to a logarithmic pattern response which previously has been associated to the shape of the internal representation of magnitiude


The full text of the article can be found here: PDF

Congratulation to Claudia Lunghi who has won the prize for the best thesis in biomedical research in Florence University for 2013! The competition was very tought as it concerned all biomedical departments in Florence University, nevertheless Claudia obtained an outstanding victory with her study on binocular rivarly and brain plasticity.  Well done Claudia, you are a champion!

Further information can be found here (in italian)

New Research in Journal Of Neuroscience

Congratulations to Claudia and Concetta, whose latest paper has just been accepted for publication in JN.

Auditory and tactile signals combine to influence vision during binocular rivalry

Claudia LunghiMaria Concetta Morrone and David Alais

Resolution of perceptual ambiguity is one function of cross-modal interactions. Here we investigate whether auditory and tactile stimuli can influence binocular rivalry generated by interocular temporal conflict in human subjects. Using dichoptic visual stimuli modulating at different temporal frequencies, we added modulating sounds or vibrations congruent with one or the other visual temporal frequency. Auditory and tactile stimulation both interacted with binocular rivalry by promoting dominance of the congruent visual stimulus. This effect depended on the cross-modal modulation strength and was absent when modulation depth declined to 33%. However, when auditory and tactile stimuli that were too weak on their own to bias binocular rivalry were combined, their influence over vision was very strong, suggesting the auditory and tactile temporal signals combined to influence vision. Similarly, interleaving discrete pulses of auditory and tactile stimuli also promoted dominance of the visual stimulus congruent with the supra-modal frequency. When auditory and tactile stimuli were presented at maximum strength, but in anti-phase, they had no influence over vision for low temporal frequencies – a null effect again suggesting audio-tactile combination. We also found that the cross-modal interaction was frequency-sensitive at low temporal frequencies, when information about temporal phase alignment can be perceptually tracked. These results show that auditory and tactile temporal processing is functionally linked, suggesting a common neural substrate for the two sensory modalities, and that at low temporal frequencies visual activity can be synchronized by a congruent cross-modal signal in a frequency-selective way, suggesting the existence of a supra-modal temporal binding mechanism.

(Read More - PDF)

New Research in Journal Of Neuroscience

Congratulations to Arezoo, Roberto and Concetta, whose latest paper has just been accepted for publication in JN.

Blood oxygen level-dependent activation of the primary visual cortex predicts size adaptation illusion

Arezoo Pooresmaeili, Roberto Arrighi, Laura Biagi, Maria Concetta Morrone

In natural scenes, objects rarely occur in isolation but appear within a spatiotemporal context. Here, we show that the perceived size of a stimulus is significantly affected by the context of the scene: brief previous presentation of larger or smaller adapting stimuli at the same region of space changes the perceived size of a test stimulus, with larger adapting stimuli causing the test to appear smaller than veridical and vice versa. In a human fMRI study, we measured the blood oxygen level-dependent activation (BOLD) responses of the primary visual cortex (V1) to the contours of large-diameter stimuli and found that activation closely matched the perceptual rather than the retinal stimulus size: the activated area of V1 increased or decreased, depending on the size of the preceding stimulus. A model based on local inhibitory V1 mechanisms simulated the inward or outward shifts of the stimulus contours and hence the perceptual effects. Our findings suggest that area V1 is actively involved in reshaping our perception to match the short-term statistics of the visual scene.

(Read More - PDF)

New Research in Psychological Science

Congratulations to Giovanni, whose latest paper has just been accepted for publication in Psych Sci.

Separate Mechanisms for Perception of Numerosity and Density (aka Numerosity IS NOT Density)

Giovanni Anobile, Marco Cicchini and David C. Burr

Despite the existence of much evidence for a number sense in humans, several researchers have questioned whether number is sensed directly or derived indirectly from texture density. Here, we provide clear evidence that numerosity and density judgments are subserved by distinct mechanisms with different psychophysical characteristics. We measured sensitivity for numerosity discrimination over a wide range of numerosities: For low densities (less than 0.25 dots/deg2), thresholds increased directly with numerosity, following Weber’s law; for higher densities, thresholds increased with the square root of texture density, a steady decrease in the Weber fraction. The existence of two different psychophysical systems is inconsistent with a model in which number is derived indirectly from noisy estimates of density and area; rather, it points to the existence of separate mechanisms for estimating density and number. These results provide strong confirmation for the existence of neural mechanisms that sense number directly, rather than indirectly from texture density.

(Read More - PDF)

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