Publications

Santa Lucia - Neurosciences and Rehabilitation Sapienza University of Rome

Eur J Neurosci. 2017 Nov 27. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13782. [Epub ahead of print]

Theta synchronization over occipito-temporal cortices during visual perception of body parts

Categorical clustering in the visual system is thought to have evolved as a function of intrinsic (intra-areal) and extrinsic (interareal) connectivity and experience. In the visual system, the extrastriate body area (EBA), an occipito-temporal region, responds to full body and body part images under the organizational principle of their functional/semantic meaning. Although frequency-specific modulations of neural activity associated with perceptive and cognitive functions are increasingly attracting the interest of neurophysiologists and cognitive neuroscientists, perceiving single body parts with different functional meaning and full body images induces time-frequency modulations over occipito-temporal electrodes are yet to be described. Here, we studied this issue by measuring EEG in participants who passively observed fingers, hands, arms and faceless full body images with four control plant stimuli, each bearing hierarchical analogy with the body stimuli. We confirmed that occipito-temporal electrodes (compatible with the location of EBA) show a larger event-related potential (ERP, N190) for body-related images. Furthermore, we identified a body part-specific (i.e. selective for hands and arms) theta event-related synchronization increase under the same electrodes. This frequency modulation associated with the perception of body effectors over occipito-temporal cortices is in line with recent findings of categorical organization of neural responses to human effectors in the visual system.

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