Alessio Avenanti

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Pain is intimately linked with action systems that are involved in observational learning and imitation. Motor responses to one's own pain allow freezing or escape reactions and ultimately survival. Here we show that similar motor responses occur as a result of observation of painful events in others. We used transcranial magnetic stimulation to record(More)
Although feeling pain and touch has long been considered inherently private, recent neuroimaging and neurophysiological studies hint at the social implications of this experience. Here we used somatosensory-evoked potentials (SEPs) to investigate whether mere observation of painful and tactile stimuli delivered to a model would modulate neural activity in(More)
Although social psychology studies suggest that racism often manifests itself as a lack of empathy, i.e., the ability to share and comprehend others' feelings and intentions, evidence for differential empathic reactivity to the pain of same- or different-race individuals is meager. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation, we explored sensorimotor empathic(More)
The study of inter-individual differences at behavioural and neural levels represents a new avenue for neuroscience. The response to socio-emotional stimuli varies greatly across individuals. For example, identification with the feelings of a movie character may be total for some people or virtually absent for others. Inter-individual differences may(More)
Empathy may allow interindividual sharing not only of emotions (e.g., joy, sadness, disgust) but also of sensations (e.g., touch, itching, pain). Although empathy for pain may rely upon both sensory and affective components of the pain experience, neuroimaging studies indicate that only the affective component of the pain matrix is involved in empathy for(More)
Recent advances in social neuroscience research have unveiled the neurophysiological correlates of race and intergroup processing. However, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying intergroup empathy. Combining event-related fMRI with measurements of pupil dilation as an index of autonomic reactivity, we explored how race and group membership(More)
Seminal studies in monkeys report that the viewing of actions performed by other individuals activates frontal and parietal cortical areas typically involved in action planning and execution. That mirroring actions might rely on both motor and somatosensory components is suggested by reports that action observation and execution increase neural activity in(More)
Perception of the final position of a moving object or creature is distorted forward along its actual or implied motion path, thus enabling anticipation of its forthcoming position. In a previous research, we demonstrated that viewing static snapshots that imply body actions activates the human motor system. What remains unknown, however, is whether(More)
BACKGROUND Asperger syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental condition within the autism spectrum conditions (ASC) characterized by specific difficulties in communication, social interaction, and empathy that is essential for sharing and understanding others' feelings and emotions. Although reduced empathy is considered a core feature of ASC,(More)
OBJECTIVE To investigate the long-term behavioral and neurophysiologic effects of combined time-locked repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and physical therapy (PT) intervention in chronic stroke patients with mild motor disabilities. METHODS Thirty patients were enrolled in a double-blind, randomized, single-center clinical trial.(More)