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Reactive adaptive behaviour elicited by events in close proximity of the body

Our perception of the surrounding world is intrinsically related to the motor system. In any natural environment, animals become adept at sensing sudden (transient) events and adapt their behaviour accordingly, in order to survive. We are often exposed to sudden sensory stimuli, which, irrespectively of their sensory modality, evoke a series of fast modulations of muscular activity, named Cortico-Muscular Resonance (CMR). This type of “Reactive Adaptive Behaviour” (RAB) may be strictly connected to the distance between us and the surrounding sensory stimuli. How does the brain cope with transient events (e.g. threats) in close proximity of our body? The notion of Peripersonal Space (PPS) has been introduced 40 years ago to highlight the link between somatosensory and visual processes related to the space immediately around the body. Whatever can be seen or touched in close proximity to our body inevitably affects our behavioural responses in terms of reflexes or voluntary actions. This proposal aims, for the first time, to systematically explore how reactive adaptive behaviour (i.e. CMR) is affected and modulated by transient, sudden stimuli (or events) within the PPS. The proposed experimental set-up will have the advantage to resemble real-life (ecological) environments. Here we have also the unique chance to use a combination of techniques such as high-density EEG recordings (hd-EEG), behavioural techniques (i.e. psychophysics), electromyography (EMG), eye- and motion-capture on both primate and non-human primates. Moreover, we will have the rare opportunity to perform intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) in non-human primates, by recording from brain cortical structures which are fundamental in planning and organizing movements (e.g. premotor areas).

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Francesca Rocchi
Neuroscience and Behaviour
Total budget: 172.750,08€
Total contribution: 172.750,08€