My PhD project is focused on the role of spontaneous oscillations in electrical brain activity on perceptual decision making, with a particular focus on the alpha rhythm. This peculiar phenomenon is the most prominent brain rhythm in human EEG recordings, with a frequency of approximately 10 Hz, and it has already been linked by previous research to accuracy in tasks requiring detection of near threshold stimuli: according to these evidence, a high power in this frequency band would be related to reduced capacity in detection.
Recent evidence adds interesting features to this phenomenon. Firstly, a decrease in alpha power underlies a state of enhanced neuronal excitability in visual cortices. Secondly, the perceptual effect of this enhanced neuronal excitability is not higher accuracy (i.e. better discrimination between stimulus and noise) as thought before, but a higher probability of reporting a stimulus regardless of its actual presence.
Trying to better characterize the relationship between these spontaneous electrical brain states and our phenomenological perception is my challenge for the next years.
Get his CV here.
- Temporal Dynamics of Perceptual and Attentional Oscillations in a Visual Working Memory Task (Master Thesis)
- Master Degree in Psychology (Neuroscience Track)
- Bachelor Degree in Sciences of Behaviour and Social Relations
- Visiting Research Fellow at Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Behavioral and eye tracking data analysis.
- Laboratory Experiences at University of Trento: Experiment design, behavioral data Collection and analysis, MEG data collection
- Internship under International Credit Mobility at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (ERASMUS+ program)
- Painter Award for Best Poster presentation - Cognitive Science Arena
- Balestrieri, E., Ronconi, L., Melcher D. (): ‘Temporal Dynamics of Perceptual and Attentional Oscillations in a Visual Working Memory Task’. Cognitive Science Arena , Bressanone, Italy, .
- Balestrieri E., Menghi N., Lapomarda G., Hickey C. (): ‘Do angry faces prime spatial attention?’ Ten years of Mind/Brain Sciences at the University of Trento, Roverto, Italy, .