SPECCHI NEL CERVELLO. Corrado Sinigaglia. ETICA E GENETICA Milano - Giovedì 26 Febbraio 2009

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1 ETICA E GENETICA Milano - Giovedì 26 Febbraio 2009 SPECCHI NEL CERVELLO Corrado Sinigaglia University of Milan Department of Philosophy Via Festa del Perdono Milano (Italy) Web:

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5 What is directly matched is the motor aboutness that characterizes both the effective observed and the effective executed motor acts. The fact that the observation of a motor act performed by others generates a motor activation similar to that would underpin the execution of that motor act by the observer suggest that effective The observed DM hypothesis and effective maintains executed that the motor acts share the same motor aboutness observation and that of the an status action and performed the identity by of a given motor act,, whether observed others evokes, or performed, in the observer s depends primarily brain, a on this motor aboutness. activation that is alike to that which occurs during the planning and effective execution of that action. The directness of matching not only does not involve that it uniquely runs at the low (kinematics)-level, but The also difference does not is that imply while that in it has the latter to be construed in terms case of a the one-to-one motor activation mapping. becomes an overt motor act, in the former it remains at the stage of a potential motor act, Without such mapping, at best the thus sensory enabling information the observer would to be able to provide us with a description immediately of various features understand of observed the observed bodily movements, but it would not be motor able to act pick up their intentional meaning, i.e. what these movements are about.

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8 A. 1 Ventral PM 2 Dorsal PM 3 IPS 4 psts B. 1 SPL 2 IPS

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13 I found it hard work to move at all, as I had to think out everything I did in order to be able to do it. In a way, I had to order my body to carry out what it had to do by thinking it out all the time. Gunilla Gerland, A real person, p.12

14 BOTH OF US DISGUSTED IN MY INSULA Electrophysiological evidence Philipps et al found that the intensity of activation of insular cortex is proportional to the observed disgust. Krolak Salmon et al recorded evoked potentials from the insula of epileptic patients, observing that the anterior region of the insula responded selectively to the sight of disgusted faces Clinical studies The anterior region of insula is closely connected with gustatory and olfactory centers; it also receives information from the ventral part of STS (face sensitive); finally, it is a viscero-motor integration center: when it is electrically stimulated, it causes bodily movements accompanied by visceral effects such as an increase in heart beat, dilation of pupil, retching, and so on. Calder et al reported the case of a patient (NK) who, following a cerebral haemorrhage, had a severe damage in the left insula. Polymodal (visual, acoustic) and selective (disgust, but not fear or anger) deficit correlated with her inability to feel disgust. Adolphs et al 2003 reported the case of a patient (B) with a bilateral lesion of the insula. He was no longer able to identify both facial grimaces and noisy expressions of disgust. In addition, he was no longer able to experience disgust, swallowing things that are totally inedible and absolutely disgusting.

15 BOTH OF US DISGUSTED IN MY INSULA In the visual session, only the sight of disgusted grimaces activated the anterior part of L insula (as well as the anterior part of R cingulate cortex). Conversely, there was no activation in amygdala. Olfactory session A. Coronal sections showing the activations of amygdala produced by both pleasant and disgusting smells B. Axial slice showing that the disgusting smells activated the anterior region of R and L insula, while the pleasant odors activated a more posterior site of L insula.

16 PAIN-RELATED NEURONS IN HUMAN CINGULATE CORTEX This single neuron recording study in neurological patients showed that there are pain related neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) that respond both to the actual stimulation and also to the same stimuli delivered to another individual. Hutchinson et al Similar results were obtained by Morrison et al In this fmri study participants underwent stimulation of one hand by a needle-like sharp probe, and, in another condition, they watched videos of someone else s hand being pricked by a hypodermic needle. Results reveal common activated foci in ACC and in AIC

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18 First experiment. Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) to focal TMS of the left motor cortex were recorded simultaneously from two muscles of observer s right hand, i.e. the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) and the abductor digiti minimi (ADM). Different categories of visual stimuli: A needle penetrating the FDI muscle; a Q-tip gently moving and pressing on FDI; a needle penetrating a tomato. MEPs amplitude recorded from FDI were significantly lower in the Needle in FDI condition than in the other ones. This indicates a decrease of motor excitability during the observation of other s pain. In a second experiment participants observed a needle penetrating a foot and a Q-tip touching the same region, while in third experiment they observed a needle penetrating in ADM and in a foot. The results were in line with those obtained in the first experiments.

19 THE SOMATOSENSORY SIDE OF PAIN EXPERIENCE The experience of pain relies not only on an affectivemotivational simulation, but also on a fine-grained somatic simulation The analysis of the subjective judgments (measured by sensory and affective subscales of the McGill Pain Questionnaire and two Visual Analogous Scales related to pain intensity and unpleasantness) about the different components of pain experience ascribed to the model during needle penetration showed that amplitude changes of MEPs were negative correlated with sensory ratings but not with affective scores.

20 Thanks for your attention

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