Perception and Awareness Laboratory

The laboratory is located at the Section of Physiology and Psychology, within Block A of the Biolofical Institutes, Floor 2, Room 2.21. The main applications of the laboratory concern the study of perception and awareness in healthy subjects and neurological patients. Behavioural, psychophysics, electrophysiology (EEG), brain imaging (fMRI, fNIRS) and non-invasive brain stimulation (TMS and intraoperative electrocortical mapping) techniques are applied, in isolation or jointly, on healthy subjects and brain-damaged patients with visual field defects or neglect.

Research activity:
The research activity is aimed at investigating:
• How, when and where in the brain perceptual awareness is generated,
• How we can deceive perception by breaking the rules underlying vision,
• The role of attention and memory in visual awareness,
• How perceptual awareness changes when the coherent representation of the outer world is lost after a brain damage.

Person in charge: Silvia Savazzi, website:
• 32-channel system (BrainAmp) for TMS-compatible EEG recording: A monopolar amplifier for electroencephalographic signal recording complete with a 64-channel input box and several 32-electrode caps.
• 64-channel system (BrainAmp) for TMS-compatible EEG recording: Two monopolar amplifiers for electroencephalography (BrainAmp DC) complete with a 64-channel input box and different 64-channel caps with active electrodes (ActiCap).
• 16-channel system (BrainAmp ExG) for the recording of motor potentials and physiological indices: Bipolar amplifier with 16 electrodes (ExG) for the recording of motor electric signals and physiological indices (e.g. heart rate, psychogalvanic response, etc.).
• Transcranial magnetic stimulator (Magstim rapid2) + neuronavigator (SofTaxic, EMS) with 3D optical digitizer (Vicra): high frequency Transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS, Magstim) (Rapid2) complete with circular/butterfly/refrigerated coils for different stimulation protocols + a hardware-software system (SofTaxic, EMS + Vicra) of digitization of the coil position on the scalp and reconstruction of the stimulated cortical area.
• Imagent system (ISS Inc., Illinois, USA) for near infrared spectroscopy + neuronavigator (SofTaxic, EMS) with 3D optical digitizer (Vicra): optical system in frequency modulation for the acquisition of both slow (hemodynamic) than fast optical signals (event-related, EROS) with 8 detectors and 64 light emitters at two wavelengths (690 and 830nm) accompanied by helmets for the positioning of the fibers + hardware-software system (SofTaxic, EMS + Vicra) for digitization of the position of sensors on the scalp and the reconstruction of brain images.
• System for the presentation of stimuli and collection of behavioral responses for fMRI (at AOUI, B.go Roma): NNL 32" LCD monitor + NNL response grip with 2 buttons per hand + MRC camera for eye movement recordings and related software.

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