BODY REPRESENTATION AND ACTION PREDICTION IN EATING DISORDERS
Dysfunctional body-image experiences in eating disorders (EDs) have been largely documented, presenting evidence of both perceptual and cognitive mechanisms to be involved. Further, as demonstrated by studies aimed at investigating autistic traits, patients with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) often show deficits in the Theory of Mind (Oldershaw et al., 2010; Tchanturia et al., 2004), the capacity to attribute mental states, beliefs, and intentions to others. Thus, it seems clear that EDs impairments do not only concern body perception dimension but also some components of social perception. My PhD project proposes the inclusion of the aforementioned EDs impairments in a predictive coding perspective. Recalling the Bayesian statistical approach, this model considers human mental representation as result of the integration of incoming sensory data provided by environment and internal-based predictions (Friston, 2002, 2003; Kilner & Frith, 2009). If predictions and data are not well-matched, the “errors” that occur must be minimized in order to ensure consistency within the multimodal self-representation. By using both behavioural procedures and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (TMS), the ultimate goal of my study is to prove the involvement of the process of integration between expectations and sensory inputs in EDs aetiology, giving a novel explanation to the most characteristic cognitive deficits found in these patients.
Candidate: Giulia D'Argenio
STRATEGIC MONITORING IN TIME-BASED PROSPECTIVE MEMORY
Time-Based Prospective Memory (TBPM) is the remembering to perform an action in the future, either at a specific time or after a certain amount of time has passed. The main topic of the project is the monitoring of the passage of time during TBPM task. More precisely to understand the interplay between the strategic/deliberate ("top-down") and the more intuitive/automatic ("bottom up") aspects of time monitoring in TBPM. Moreover, to understand their cognitive and neural correlates by assessing the role of executive functions and time estimation abilities in different aspects of TBPM monitoring and performance using behavioural task as well as non-invasive Brain Stimulation (TMS, tDCS). To study this interplay, strategic (e.g. availability of external clock, strategy training) and intuitive (e.g. internal clock synchronization/desynchronization) components of TBPM task will be manipulated across several experiments.
Candidate: Giulio Munaretto
D'Argenio, G., Finisguerra, A., Urgesi, C. (2020). Motion and Gender-Typing Features Interact in the Perception of Human Bodies. Front. Neurosci. 14:277
D'Argenio, G., Urgesi, C. (2019). Disturbi alimentari e neuroscienze: la rappresentazione del corpo. In: Manuale dei disturbi alimentari, a cura di Spitoni e Aragona. Carrocci Editore