Sensory Experience Dependence and Plasticity
What We Do
During the brain development maturation and experience work jointly to provide the optimal neural representations of the environment to cope with future needs. By studying typical developed individuals, sensory deprivation and sensory restoration, the line of research SEED conducted at the MoMiLab and housed in the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca explores mechanisms underlying functional and structural development, organization and representations of the senses. Investigations on sensory neural systems that are deprived of their typical sensory input, as in the case of congenital blindness or deafness, reveal the complexity of neural systems and their adaptations: on the one hand, neural representations of specific cortical areas can be functionally preserved despite the lack of a sense, on the other hand, intra - and cross-modal plasticity, that is changes of neural responses in spared and deprived sensory modalities, disclose neural plasticity effects which can lead to compensatory abilities. The model of sensory restoration, as in case of sight or hearing recovery, proved being effective to test for the existence of sensitive or critical periods, during which specific experience must be available for typical development of neural circuits or, in striking contrast, to test for the existence of functions which develop independently of early input. All these approaches relay on the understanding of sensory systems development and functioning in a multisensory framework.
Research is conducted at the interface between cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and biological engineering – applying multiple methods such as computational neuroscience, electrical neuroimaging, functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging, psychophysics to elucidate complex neural dynamics.
Natural speech signals processing and development
Supramodal brain organization in sensory-deprivation
Experience dependence of audio-visual streams
Structural brain changes in large samples of congenital and late blind people
Visual dependence of auditory processing
Adaptations of visual functions following deafness
Short term plasticity of audio-visual integration
Who We Are
What We Publish
An electrophysiological biomarker for the classification of cataract-reversal patients: A case-control study.Sourav, S., Bottari, D., Shareef, I., Kekunnaya, R., & Röder, B. (2020). EClinicalMedicine, (the Lancet) in press.
EEG frequency-tagging demonstrates increased left hemispheric involvement and crossmodal plasticity for face processing in congenitally deaf signersDavide Bottari, Evgenia Bednaya, Giulia Dormal, Agnes, Villwock Milena, Dzhelyov Konstantin Grin, Pietro Pietrini, Emiliano Ricciardi, Bruno Rossionde, Brigitte RöderNeuroimage 2020 Aug 31; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117315
Does (lack of) sight matter for V1? New light from the study of the blind brainEmiliano Ricciardi, Paolo Papale, Luca Cecchetti, Pietro PietriniNeurosci Biobehav Rev. 2020 Jul 22;118:1-2.doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.07.014
The sensory-deprived brain as a unique tool to understand brain development and functionRicciardi E, Bottari D, Ptito M, Roeder B, Pietrini P.Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 108:78-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.10.017. Epub 2019 Oct 28, Jan 2020.
See the whole Special Issue 'Rethinking the sensory-deprived brain: hints from the Blind Brain Workshop 2018' on Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Auditory features modelling demonstrates sound envelope representation in striate cortexAlice Martinelli, Giacomo Handjaras, Monica Betta, Andrea Leo, Luca Cecchetti, Pietro Pietrini, Emiliano Ricciardi, Davide BottariBioRxiv. Apr 2020 https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.15.043174v1
A protracted sensitive period regulates the development of cross-modal sound–shape associations in humansSourav, Suddha, Ramesh Kekunnaya, Idris Shareef, Seema Banerjee, Davide Bottari, and Brigitte Röder. Psychological science 30, no. 10 (2019): 1473-1482. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797619866625
Motion processing after sight restoration: No competition between visual recovery and auditory compensationDavide Bottari, Ramesh Kekunnaya, Marlene Hense, Nikolaus F Troje, Suddha Sourav, Brigitte RöderNeuroimage. 2018 Feb 15;167:284-296. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.11.050 Epub 2017 Nov 23.
What We Develop
fMRI encoding/decoding algorithms
Emiliano Ricciardi - Invited Seminar: “Rethinking the sensory deprived brain”, University of Bologna, Cesena, April 7, 2020
Emiliano Ricciardi - Keynote Lecture: “La rappresentazione più astratta dell’azione: il contributo delle neuroimmagini” – Convegno Nazionale Scientifico Associazione Italiana Disprassie dell’Età Evolutiva, Rome (Italy), November 17-18, 2019
Emiliano Ricciardi - Oral presentation: “Dalla deprivazione sensoriale alla riabilitazione: cosa abbiamo imparato dal cervello dei ciechi congeniti? in “Simposio S16: Il mondo della disabilità visiva: stato dell’arte e nuove frontiere di ricerca”, XXV Congresso AIP Sezione Sperimentale Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano 18-20 Settembre 2019
Davide Bottari- Talk : “EEG frequency-tagging demonstrates increased left hemispheric involvement and crossmodal plasticity for face processing in congenitally deaf signers”, at the ICON meeting Helsinki, June, 2020 (rescheduled)
Davide Bottari- Talk : “Auditory features modelling demonstrates sound envelope representation in striate cortex”, at the IMRF meeting Ulm, June, 2020 (rescheduled)
Davide Bottari- Invited seminar: “Experience dependence brain plasticity revealed by temporary and permanent sensory deprivation”, University Catholique of Louvain, March, 2019
Davide Bottari- Invited Seminar: “Experience dependence brain plasticity revealed by temporary and permanent sensory deprivation”, University of Torino, May 8, 2019
Davide Bottari- Invited Seminar: “Experience dependence brain plasticity: models of deprivation and re-afferentation”, New York University Abu Dhabi, Feb, 2019
Davide Bottari- Invited Seminar: “Experience dependence brain plasticity revealed by temporary and permanent sensory deprivation”, IIT Genova, Jan, 2019
Emiliano Ricciardi - Invited Lecture – Blind Brain Workshop: ‘on the Sensory Deprived Brain’ – Lucca, Italy, October 11-13, 2018
Davide Bottari - Invited Lecture – Blind Brain Workshop: ‘on the Sensory Deprived Brain’ – Lucca, Italy, October 11-13, 2018