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Professore Ordinario
Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Metaboliche e Neuroscienze - sede Palazzo Dossetti

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2024 - Sport identification, moral perceptions and collective action: A study with young football players [Articolo su rivista]
Cocco, V. M.; Bisagno, E.; Cadamuro, A.; Rubichi, S.; Stathi, S.; Vezzali, L.

We conducted a cross-sectional study investigating whether sport identification predicts different forms of collective action intentions aimed to redress the unfavourable condition faced by disadvantaged individuals. In doing so, moral perceptions (moral convictions, moral violation and moral obligation) were tested as mediators. Participants were young football players from the grassroots of a professional Italian club (N = 111). Results revealed that sport identification was indirectly associated with greater willingness to engage in both normative and non-normative solidarity-based collective action via stronger moral obligation perceptions; moral convictions mediated the relationship between sport identification and normative collective action, while no mediation effects emerged for moral violation. We discuss findings in relation to collective action and sport research.

2023 - Emotions in motion: affective valence can influence compatibility effects with graspable objects [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, E.; Rubichi, S.; Nicoletti, R.; Iani, C.

Previous studies showed that affective valence (positive, negative) influences Stimulus–Response Compatibility (SRC) effects elicited by both relevant and irrelevant spatial dimensions. We tested whether valence influences SRC effects when the irrelevant spatial dimension rather than being conveyed by the entire stimulus location is conveyed by the location of the stimulus’ graspable part, i.e., the Handle–Response (H–R) compatibility effect. Participants saw objects with either a flower, a spider or nothing on their handle and categorized them as kitchen utensils or garage tools through button presses. In Experiment 1, a random presentation of valenced stimuli was used, whereas in Experiment 2 differently valenced stimuli were arranged in different blocks. Furthermore, participants in Experiment 2 could be spider-fearful or not. In Experiment 1, an H–R compatibility effect occurred for response latencies, regardless of whether stimuli presented a negative, positive or no element on their handle. In Experiment 2 the effect occurred only when a positive element was shown on the object's handle. In addition, spider-fearful individuals showed significantly slower responses when the element appearing on the object's handle had a negative valence. These results suggest that the SRC effect observed with pictures of graspable objects may be sensitive to the affective characteristics of stimuli and that approach/avoidance response tendencies may also depend on individual differences (being spider-fearful or not).

2023 - Psychological health of mothers and siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder during COVID-19 pandemic: New evidence in Italian families [Articolo su rivista]
Camia, M.; Scorza, M.; Lipparini, A.; Martorana, L.; Nardocci, F.; Padovani, R.; Rubichi, S.; Benassi, E.

Background and aim: Psychological challenges are well recognized in families with a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Instead, less is known about the effects of traumatic scenarios, such as COVID-19, on the psychological health of these families. The main aim of this study was to examine the psychological health of both mothers and typically developing (TD) siblings of children with ASD during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also investigated the relationship between mothers’ psychological resources and their children’s psychological well-being. Method: The sample included 52 mothers and their children: 15 mothers with one child with ASD and at least one TD child (ASD-siblings group) and 37 mothers with one or more TD children (TD control group). The data were collected using an online platform; four stand-ardized questionnaires (GAD-7, BDI-II, CD-RISC 25 and CBCL) were administered. Results: The analyses revealed more internalizing and total behavioral symptoms in the siblings of children with ASD, compared to the TD control group. Regarding the mothers, we did not find differences in depression and anxious symptoms between the two groups. However, the mothers of children with ASD showed a lower resilience than mothers of TD children. Moreover, the psychological well-being of the children was related with the mothers’ anxiety in the ASD-siblings group. Conclusions: Overall, our data show that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been particularly challenging for siblings of children with ASD, and highlight the importance of inten-sifying the psychological support to these families. (

2023 - Searching for a tactile target: the impact of set-size on the N140cc [Articolo su rivista]
Gherri, E.; Fiorino, F. R.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.

The time needed to find a visual target amongst distractors (search task) can increase as a function of the distractors’ number (set-size) in the search-array (inefficient search). While the allocation of attention in search tasks has been extensively investigated and debated in the visual domain, little is known about these mechanisms in touch. Initial behavioral evidence shows inefficient search behavior when participants have to distinguish between target and distractors defined by their vibro-tactile frequencies. In the present study, to investigate the allocation of attention to items of the search-array we measured the N140cc during a tactile task in which the set-size was manipulated. The N140cc is a lateralized component of event-related brain potentials recently described as a psychophysiological marker of attentional allocation in tactile search tasks. Participants localized the target, a singleton frequency, while ignoring one, three or five homogeneous distractors. Results showed that error rates linearly increased as a function of set-size, while response times were not affected. Reliable N140cc components were observed for all set-sizes. Crucially, the N140cc amplitude decreased as the number of distractors increased. We argue that the presence of additional distractors hindered the preattentive analysis of the search array resulting in increased uncertainty about the target location (inefficient preattentive stage). This, in turn, increased the variability of the deployment of attention to the target, resulting in reduced N140cc amplitudes. Consistent with existing behavioral evidence, these findings highlight systematic differences between the visual and the tactile attentional systems.

2022 - A developmental outlook on the role of cognition and emotions in youth volleyball and artistic gymnastics [Articolo su rivista]
Bisagno, Elisa; Cadamuro, Alessia; Rubichi, Sandro; Robazza, Claudio; Vitali, Francesca

Developmental and cognitive psychology recently started to take an interest in the sports domain, exploring the role of either cognitive functions or emotions in youth sport. However, to the extent that cognition and emotions are inextricably linked, studying them jointly from a developmental perspective could inform on their interplay in determining performance in different sports. This research examined the role of general cognitive abilities, attentional style, and emotions (controlling for age and experience), in predicting performance in youth volleyball and artistic gymnastics. A total of 218 female participants, of which 114 volleyball players and 104 artistic gymnasts (11-17 years old) were administered two measures of working memory and six measures of executive functions (namely inhibition, updating, and shifting). They also completed an attentional style and an emotion-related questionnaire. For each volleyball player, an individual performance index based on every gesture performed during the games and controlled for the team performance was computed. As a measure of gymnasts' performance, scores in 2017-2018 competitions were used. Regression analysis showed that the main predictor of the volleyball players' performance (R-2 = 0.23) was a working memory-updating factor (ss = 0.45, p = 0.001), together with experience (ss = 0.29, p = 0.030) and high-arousal unpleasant emotions (ss = 0.30, p = 0.029), which positively predicted performance. Experience (ss = 0.30, p = 0.011), age (ss = -0.036, p = 0.005) and high-arousal unpleasant emotions (ss = -0.27, p = 0.030) were the predictors of gymnasts' performance (R-2 = 0.25). These results represent a first step in understanding if and how youth female athletes of open- and closed-skills sports rely on different psychological abilities. This line of research could offer insight to practitioners regarding which psychological abilities could be more relevant to train depending on the type of sport.

2022 - Does a look of fear prompt to act? The effects of gaze and face emotional expression on manipulable objects [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, Elisa; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina

Gaze direction is an important social cue for understanding the intentions of other people. Indeed, interacting with others requires the ability to encode their current focus of attention in order to predict their future actions. Previous studies have showed that when asked to detect or identify a target, people are faster if shown a gaze oriented toward rather than away from that target. Most importantly, there is evidence that the emotion conveyed by the face with the averted gaze matters. We further tested the interplay between gaze and face emotion in the context of manipulable objects to understand whether and to what extent other people's gaze influences our own actions toward objects. Participants judged whether a target graspable object was upright or inverted after viewing a face cue with a central or averted gaze. Importantly, the target's handle could be oriented toward the gazed-at location or the opposite side such that gaze and handle were corresponding or non-corresponding in space. Furthermore, we manipulated the expression of the cue by using neutral and fearful faces. Results showed a handle-response (H-R) compatibility effect (i.e., a facilitation when the response key is on the same side as the object's handle) only with fearful cues with a central gaze.

2022 - To collaborate or not to collaborate: understanding human-robot collaboration [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Villani, Valeria; Ciaramidaro, Angela; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Sabattini, Lorenzo

2021 - Corrigendum: Exploring the Role of Action Consequences in the Handle-Response Compatibility Effect (Front. Hum. Neurosci., (2020), 14, 286, 10.3389/fnhum.2020.00286) [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, E.; D'Ascenzo, S.; Lugli, L.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.; Nicoletti, R.

In the original article, there was a mistake in Table 1 as published. There was a missing reference of Kourtis and Vingerhoets (2015). The corrected Table 1 appears below. In the original article, there was an error. The authors mistakenly reported as evidence a hypothetical interpretation offered by Kourtis and Vingerhoets (2015) of their neurophysiological results. A correction has been made to Introduction, Paragraph 2: Evidence in favor of the H-R compatibility effect was initially provided by Tucker and Ellis (1998) who showed that judging the upright or inverted position of depicted graspable objects was influenced by the orientation of the object’s handle. That is, responses were faster when the position of the handle and the responding hand were spatially aligned as compared to when they were not. This result was replicated across different tasks (e.g., Tipper et al., 2006; Saccone et al., 2016), stimuli (e.g., Pellicano et al., 2010; Pappas, 2014; Iani et al., 2018; Scerrati et al., 2019, 2020), populations (e.g., Dekker and Mareschal, 2013), response devices (e.g., Bub and Masson, 2010), and response modes (e.g., Phillips and Ward, 2002; Cho and Proctor, 2010; Proctor et al., 2017; Bub et al., 2018; for a review see Proctor and Miles, 2014; for a recent meta-analysis see Azaad et al., 2019). The authors apologize for this error and state that this does not change the scientific conclusions of the article in any way. The original article has been updated.

2021 - Distance learning and teaching as a consequence of the covid-19 pandemic: A survey of teachers and students of an italian high school taking into account technological issues, attitudes and beliefs toward distance learning, metacognitive skills [Articolo su rivista]
Cadamuro, A.; Bisagno, E.; Rubichi, S.; Rossi, L.; Cottafavi, D.; Crapolicchio, E.; Vezzali, Loris

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the education system to a rapid and unprepared transition to distance learning, inducing many teachers to organize lessons via information and communication technologies (ICTs), albeit often without sufficient technological and organizational support. Our study aims to evaluate teachers’ and students’ experience with ICTs during the first lockdown, considering three categories of relevant factors: technical issues, attitudes and beliefs towards online learning, and metacognitive skills. Participants were 486 students and 83 teachers of a Northern Italy high school, who were administered a self-reported online questionnaire. Video-lessons and audio-lessons emerged as overlooked teaching modalities. The desktop was the less used device, teachers preferred the tablet, while students preferred the smartphone. In general, students displayed appreciation of distance learning, even if they wished for more interactive activities. Teachers’ level of metacognitive competence and self-efficacy were rather high. For students, the perception of the e-learning environment predicted positively the perception of distance education and negatively the experienced anxiety, with anxiety also being higher among females. For teachers, the evaluation of distance learning was positively predicted by their beliefs about ICTs. This demonstrates the importance of promoting positive ICTs beliefs to motivate teachers in engaging in distance learning. Moreover, higher perceived self-efficacy was associated with lower levels of anxiety, thus showing the need to engage in training activities enabling teachers to feel confident when using ICTs.

2021 - Does the Activation of Motor Information Affect Semantic Processing? [Capitolo/Saggio]
Scerrati, E.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.

Several behavioral studies show that semantic content influences reach-to-grasp movement responses. However, not much is known about the influence of motor activation on semantic processing. The present study aimed at filling this gap by examining the influence of pre-activated motor information on a subsequent lexical decision task. Participants were instructed to observe a prime object (e.g., the image of a frying pan) and then judge whether the following target was a known word in the lexicon or not. They were required to make a keypress response to target words describing properties either relevant (e.g., handle) or irrelevant (e.g., ceramic) for action or unrelated to the prime object (e.g., eyelash). Response key could be located on the same side as the depicted action-relevant property of the prime object (i.e., spatially compatible key) or on the opposite side (i.e., spatially incompatible key). Results showed a facilitation in terms of lower percentage errors when the target word was action-relevant (e.g., handle) and there was spatial compatibility between the orientation of the action-relevant component of the prime object and the response. This preliminary finding suggests that the activation of motor information may affect semantic processing. We discuss implications of these results for current theories of action knowledge representation.

2020 - Correction: Truth and lies in your eyes: Pupil dilation of White participants in truthful and deceptive responses to White and Black partners (PLoS ONE (2020) 15:10 (e0239512) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239512) [Articolo su rivista]
Trifiletti, E.; D'Ascenzo, S.; Lugli, L.; Cocco, V. M.; Di Bernardo, G. A.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.; Nicoletti, R.; Vezzali, L.

The second affiliation for the sixth author is incorrect. Cristina Iani is not affiliated with #5, but with #6: Centro Interdipartimentale di Neuroscienze e Neurotecnologie, Università di Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

2020 - Correspondence effect driven by salient visual asymmetries in integral object stimuli [Articolo su rivista]
Pellicano, A.; Iani, C.; Maiorana, N. V.; Horoufchin, H.; Rubichi, S.; Lugli, L.; Nicoletti, R.; Binkofski, F.

The handle-to-hand correspondence effect consists of faster and more accurate responses when the responding hand is aligned with the handle side of an object tool, compared to when they lay on opposite sides. This effect has been attributed to the activation of affordances. Recent studies, however, claimed that it may depend on the spatial coding of the object on the basis of its visual asymmetry (location-coding account). Affordances are namely direct and meaningful relations between recognized objects and the observers’ action system. Therefore, any manipulation that disrupts the body structure of object tools could potentially affect their identification and prevent the activation of affordances. The present study investigated the nature of the handle-to-hand correspondence effects by manipulating structural asymmetry and visual salience of object tools, while preserving their integrity that is, leaving unaltered the original possibilities to activate grasping affordances. Three experiments were run. Results were consistent with the location-coding account and claim for accurate control of visual asymmetries in object stimuli during investigation of affordance effects.

2020 - Do my hands prime your hands? The hand-to-response correspondence effect [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, Elisa; Iani, Cristina; Lugli, Luisa; Nicoletti, Roberto; Rubichi, Sandro

Previous research has shown an effect of handle-response correspondence on key-press responses when participants judged the upright or inverted orientation of photographed one-handled graspable objects. In three experiments, we explored whether this effect still holds for symmetric graspable objects that are usually grasped by two hands (i.e. two-handled objects; e.g. shears). In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were required to perform a between-hand response in order to categorize cooking or amusement objects appearing as grasped from either an allocentric (Experiment 1) or an egocentric perspective (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, they were required to perform a within-hand response to categorize the same stimuli appearing as grasped from an egocentric perspective. Across all three experiments, results showed that categorization was more difficult when the objects were displayed as grasped on the opposite side than the response rather than on the same side. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of action potentiation and spatial coding and suggest that different mechanisms may be recruited depending on the required action (i.e. response mode).

2020 - Exploring the Role of Action Consequences in the Handle-Response Compatibility Effect. [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, Elisa; D’Ascenzo, Stefania; Lugli, Luisa; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, Roberto

Previous research investigating handle-response compatibility effects with graspable objects used different categories of objects as stimuli, regardless of their specific, intrinsic characteristics. The current study explores whether different types of objects’ characteristics may elicit different types of spatial compatibility, that is, handle-response and response-effect compatibility as well as their potential interaction. In Experiment 1, objects having a graspable handle opposite to either a visible functional component (i.e., handle-function objects: a teapot) or a latent functional component (handle-only objects: a pitcher lacking the spout) were presented separately in different blocks. Both the handle and the goal-directed functional components of these objects were located on the horizontal axis. In Experiment 2, handle-only objects had a handle located on the horizontal axis and a latent functional component located on the vertical axis (e.g., a cup). In both experiments, participants were required to judge the material (plastic and metal) the object was made of. Results showed that the handle-response compatibility effect was sensitive to whether the actions consequences of object manipulation took place on the horizontal rather than on the vertical axis.

2020 - The influence of prime identity on the emergence of affordance effects [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, C.; Maiorana, N. V.; Rubichi, S.

The present study used a visuomotor priming task to investigate whether classification responses to pairs of graspable objects are influenced by prior presentation of pictures of two human or robotic hands. Participants had to press one of two keys to discriminate whether pairs of graspable objects could be usually found in the kitchen or in the garage. The objects could be used together or not. In each pair there was an active object (i.e., the object that is actively manipulated during a specific action), presented to the right or left of the screen center. Only when the objects were preceded by two robotic hands and could be used together, responses were faster when the position of the active object and the position of the response were spatially corresponding, that is when objects appeared in standard co-locations for right-handed actions. This result demonstrates that affordance effects evoked by object pairs are influenced by the nature of motor cues present in the scene.

2020 - Truth and lies in your eyes: Pupil dilation of White participants in truthful and deceptive responses to White and Black partners [Articolo su rivista]
Trifiletti, Elena; D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Lugli, Luisa; Cocco, Veronica Margherita; Di Bernardo, Gian Antonio; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, Roberto; Vezzali, Loris

In the present study, we examined the pupillary response of White participants who were asked to tell the truth or lie to White or Black partners. Research on cues to deception has assumed that lying is more cognitively demanding that truth telling. In line with this assumption, previous studies have shown that lying is associated with greater pupil dilation, a behavioral cue that typically manifests itself under conditions of stress or cognitive effort. In accordance with these results, we predicted greater pupil dilation when lying than when telling the truth. Furthermore, pupil dilation was expected to be greater when responding to White than Black partners. Finally, we hypothesized that pupil dilation would be greater when lying to White than Black partners. Participants were instructed to answer a set of questions, half truthfully and half deceptively. They were led to believe that White vs. Black partners (one male and one female) would ask the questions via computer connection. Indeed, we used feminine and masculine synthetic voices. Pupil dilation was assessed with a remote eye-tracking system. Results provided support for the first two hypotheses. However, the predicted interaction between race of partners and truth status of message (lying vs. telling the truth) was nonsignificant. Our findings highlight the importance of considering race in the study of truthful and deceptive communications.

2019 - Do already grasped objects activate motor affordances? [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Luca, Ferraro; Maiorana, NATALE VINCENZO; Vittorio, Gallese; Rubichi, Sandro

This study investigated whether in a stimulus–response compatibility (SRC) task affordance effects in response to picture of graspable objects emerge when these objects appear as already grasped. It also assessed whether the observed effects could be explained as due to spatial compatibility between the most salient part in the object/display and the hand of response rather than to action potentiation. To this aim, we conducted three behavioural experiments in which participants were required to discriminate the vertical orientation (upright vs. inverted) of an object presented in the centre of the screen, while ignoring the right–left orientation of its handle. The object could be presented alone, as already grasped, as partially masked (Experiment 1) or with a human hand close to its graspable side (Experiment 2). In addition, to assess the role of perceptual salience, the object could be presented with a human hand or a non-biological (a geometrical shape) distractor located opposite to the object’s graspable side. Results showed faster responses when the object’s handle was located on the same side of the responding hand with a larger effect when upright objects were shown as already grasped (Experiment 1) or when a hand was displayed close to its handle (Experiment 2), and a smaller reversed effect when the hand or the geometrical shape was located opposite to the handled side (Experiment 3). We interpreted these findings as indicating that handle orientation effects emerging in SRC tasks may result from the interplay between motor affordance and spatial compatibility mechanisms.

2019 - Do my hands prime your hands? Effects of (grasped) handles on keypress responses with two-handled objects [Poster]
Rubichi, S.; Scerrati, E.; Lugli, L.; Nicoletti, R.; Iani, C.

2019 - Effetti di corrispondenza con oggetti afferrabili: uno studio sulle caratteristiche degli stimoli [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
D’Ascenzo, S.; Scerrati, E.; Lugli, L.; Iani, C.; Rubichi, S.; Nicoletti, R.

2019 - Il ruolo della valenza emotiva in compiti di compatibilità spaziale con oggetti afferrabili [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Scerrati, Elisa; Iani, Cristina; Ciaramidaro, Angela; Rubichi, Sandro

2019 - Is there an action potentiation effect with two-handles objects? [Articolo su rivista]
Scerrati, E.; Iani, C.; Lugli, L.; Rubichi, S.

Two experiments explore the action Potentiation effect with grasped bimanual objects having two symmetrical handles. objects typically used in the kitchen (e.g., mezzaluna knife) and objects typically used during spare time (e.g., joypad) were presented during a categorization task in four experimental conditions: compatible grasping object, incompatible grasping object, object alone, two-handles grasping object. results show a more difficult categorization when objects were shown as grasped on the opposite side than the response rather than on the same side in each of two different response modes (bimanual: experiment 1; unimanual: experiment 2). We discuss implications of these results for action potentiation and spatial coding theories.

2019 - The role of the co-actor’s response reachability in the joint Simon effect: remapping of working space by tool use. [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Ciardo, Francesca Maria; Panajoli, Simone; Lugli, Luisa; Rubichi, Sandro

The Simon effect, that is the advantage of the spatial correspondence between stimulus and response locations when stimulus location is task irrelevant, occurs even when the task is performed by two participants, each performing a go/no-go task. This effect, known as the joint Simon effect, does not emerge when participants sit outside each other’s peripersonal space, thus suggesting that the presence of an active confederate in peripersonal space might provide a reference for response coding. The present study investigated whether this finding is due to the distance separating the participants and/or to the distance separating each participant and the other agent’s response. In two experiments, pairs of participants performed a social detection task sitting outside each other’s arm reach, with response keys located close to the participants or outside arm reach. When the response key was located outside the participant’s arm reach, he/she could reach it by means of a tool. In Experiment 1, by means of a tool, participants could reach their response key only, while in Experiment 2, they could reach also their co-agent’s response key. The joint Simon effect did not emerge when participants could not reach the co-actor’s response, while it emerged when they could potentially reach the other participant’s response using the tool, but only when turn taking was required. These results may be taken as evidence that the possibility to reach and act upon the co-actor’s response key may be at the bases of compatibility effects observed in joint action contexts requiring complementary responses.

2019 - The unimanual handle-to-hand correspondence effect: evidence for a location coding account [Articolo su rivista]
Pellicano, Antonello; Lugli, Luisa; Binkofski, Ferdinand; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina; Nicoletti, Roberto

The handle-to-hand correspondence effect refers to faster and more accurate responses when the responding hand is aligned with the graspable part of an object tool, compared to when they lay on opposite sides. We performed four behavioral experiments to investigate whether this effect depends on the activation of grasping affordances (affordance activation account) or is to be traced back to a Simon effect, resulting from the spatial coding of stimuli and responses and from their dimensional overlap (location coding account). We manipulated the availability of a response alternative by requiring participants to perform either a unimanual go/no-go task (absence of a response alternative) or a joint go/no-go task (available response alternative) and the type of response required (button-press or grasping response). We found no handle-to-hand correspondence effect in the individual go/no-go task either when a button-press (Experiment 1A) or a grasping (Experiment 2A) response was required, whereas a significant effect emerged in the joint go/no-go task, irrespective of response modality (Experiments1B and 2B). These results do not support the idea that complex motor affordances are activated for meaningful objects, but are rather consistent with the more parsimonious location coding account.

2019 - Unconfounding compatibiility effects with graspable objects [Poster]
Rubichi, Sandro; Scerrati, Elisa; D’Ascenzo, Stefania; Iani, Cristina; Lugli, Luisa; Nicoletti, Roberto

2018 - Does the activation of motor information affect semantic processing? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Scerrati, Elisa; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro

2018 - Effects of (grasped) handles alignment on keypress responses with two-handled objects [Poster]
Scerrati, E.; Iani, C.; Lugli, L.; Nicoletti, R.; Rubichi, S.

2018 - The influence of vicarious interracial relations on cognitive control in Italian undergraduate students [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Boni, CLAUDIA DARIA; Iani, Cristina; Di bernardo, Gian Antonio; Rubichi, Sandro; Vezzali, Loris

This study examined the influence of vicarious interracial interactions on cognitive control functioning of Italian white undergraduate students. Sixty students performed the Stroop task watching a video showing an interracial interaction. For half of the participants the video showed a white student being excluded by two black students (exclusion condition), while for the other half the video showed a white student that was accepted in a dyad of two black students (inclusion condition). Prior to viewing the video, participants ́ racial attitudes regarding Whites and Blacks were measured by means of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and of structured questionnaires. Cognitive control functioning was measured by assessing Stroop interference and trial-by- trial conflict adaptations. Results showed that, despite the overall low levels of implicit and explicit racial prejudice, trial-by-trial conflict adaptations differed between the two groups, with the group in the exclusion condition showing less efficient adaptations to conflict. This result is consistent with a resource model of executive control and with the results of recent studies showing that interracial interactions, especially negative ones, deplete executive control.

2018 - The role of perspective in discriminating between social and non-social intentions from reach-to-grasp kinematics [Articolo su rivista]
Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Campanini, Isabella; Merlo, Andrea; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina

Making correct inferences regarding social and individual intentions may be crucial for successful interactions, especially when we are required to discriminate between cooperative and competitive behaviors. The results of previous studies indicate that reach-to-grasp kinematic parameters may be used to infer the social or individual outcome of a movement. However, the majority of the studies investigated this ability by presenting reach-to-grasp movements from a third-person perspective only. The aim of the present study was to assess whether the ability to recognize the intent associated to a reach-to-grasp movement varies as a function of perspective by manipulating the perspective of observation (second- and third-perspective) within participants. To this end, we presented participants with video clips of models performing a reach-to-grasp movement with different intents. The video clips were recorded both from a lateral view (third-person perspective) and from a frontal view (second-person perspective). After viewing the clips, in two subsequent tasks participants were asked to distinguish between social and non-social intentions by observing the initial phase of the same action recorded from the two different views. Results showed that, when a fast-speed movement was presented from a lateral view, participants were able to predict its social intention. In contrast, when the same movement was observed from a frontal view, performance was impaired. These results indicate that the ability to detect social intentions from motor cues can be biased by the visual perspective of the observer, specifically for fast-speed movements.

2018 - Visual versus auditory Simon effect: a behavioural and physiological investigation. [Articolo su rivista]
D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Lugli, Luisa; Baroni, Giulia; Guidotti, Roberto; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina; Nicoletti, Roberto

The present study investigated whether the visual and auditory Simon effects could be accounted for by the same mechanism. In a single experiment we performed a detailed comparison of the visual and the auditory Simon effects arising in behavioural responses and in pupil dilation, a psychophysiological measure considered as a marker of the cognitive effort induced by conflict processing. To address our question, we performed sequential and distributional analyses on both reaction times and pupil dilation. Results confirmed that the mechanisms underlying the visual and auditory Simon effects are functionally equivalent in terms of the interaction between unconditional and conditional response processes. The two modalities, however, differ with respect to the strength of their activation and inhibition. Importantly, pupillary data mirrored the pattern observed in behavioural data for both tasks, adding physiological evidence to the current literature on the processing of visual and auditory information in a conflict task.

2017 - Le bugie hanno le pupille larghe: Uno studio sul pregiudizio razziale nell’atto del mentire e dire la verità [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Lugli, Luisa; Vezzali, Loris; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, Roberto

E’ ormai noto in letteratura che l’atto del mentire richiede una grande quantità di controllo cognitivo rispetto al dire la verità. Diversi studi infatti hanno riportato tempi di reazione e dilatazione pupillare (indice psicofisiologico associato al carico cognitivo) maggiori quando ai partecipanti viene richiesto di dire la bugia rispetto a dire la verità. Nell’ambito della psicologia sociale, vari studi hanno dimostrato che interagire con un membro del proprio ingroup è più facile rispetto all’interazione con un membro del proprio outgroup. Considerando queste premesse, l’obiettivo di questo lavoro è quello di indagare l’atto del mentire e dire la verità prendendo in considerazione l’interazione con un membro del proprio ingroup o outgroup, identificando la propria appartenenza attraverso la razza (o meglio dire etnia?). Verrà esaminato il carico cognitivo legato a questo processo registrando, oltre ai tempi di reazione, la dilatazione pupillare. E’ stato chiesto a 4 studenti (2 femmine, bianca e di colore e 2 maschi, bianco e di colore) di registrare un breve filmato presentandosi. Ai partecipanti (N = 40) è stato chiesto di interagire con 2 di loro (1 maschio e una femmina) appartenenti al proprio ingroup o outgroup (disegno between) e rispondere a delle domande (risposta dicotomica) dicendo la verità o la bugia. Sono stati misurati i tempi di reazione e la dilatazione pupillare. I risultati sui tempi di reazione mostrano che i partecipanti sono più lenti a mentire rispetto a dire la verità. Questo effetto però non interagisce con il gruppo: mentire al proprio ingroup richiede lo stesso tempo che mentire al proprio outgroup. I risultati sulla dilatazione pupillare, oltre a riflettere il pattern dei tempi di reazione, la pupilla è più dilatata nell’atto del mentire rispetto al dire la verità, emerge un effetto principale legato al gruppo: la pupilla si dilata maggioremente quando i partecipanti interagiscono con i membri del proprio ingroup rispetto al proprio outgroup. Questi risultati dimostrano che l’atto del mentire richiede uno sforzo maggiore rispetto all’atto del dire la verità ma sembra che a livello comportamentale questo processo non venga influezato dal gruppo di appartenenza. Invece, considerando le risposte pupillari, i partecipanti fanno uno sforzo maggiore nel rispondere a membri del proprio ingroup riflettendo un un ruolo del pregiudizio a livello automatico (inconsapevole) nell’interazione con membri del proprio ingroup o outgroup.

2016 - Action-space coding in social contexts [Articolo su rivista]
Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Lugli, Luisa; Nicoletti, Roberto; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina

In two behavioural experiments we tested whether performing a spatial task along with another agent changes space representation by rendering some reference frames more/less salient than others. To this end, we used a Simon task in which stimuli were presented in four horizontal locations thus allowing for spatial coding according to multiple frames of reference. In Experiment 1 participants performed a go/no-go Simon task along another agent, each being in charge of one response. In Experiment 2 they performed a two-choice Simon task along another agent, each being in charge of two responses. Results showed that when participants were in charge of only one response, stimulus position was coded only with reference to the centre of the screen hence suggesting that the co-actor's response, or the position of the co-actor, was represented and used as a reference for spatial coding. Differently, when participants were in charge of two responses, no effect of the social context emerged and spatial coding relied on multiple frames of reference, similarly to when the Simon task is performed individually. These findings provide insights on the influence played by the interaction between the social context (i.e. the presence of others) and task features on individual performance.

2016 - Practice-induced and sequential modulations in the Simon task: evidence from pupil dilation [Articolo su rivista]
D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Iani, Cristina; Guidotti, Roberto; Laeng, Bruno; Rubichi, Sandro

Recent evidence showed that pupil dilation (PD) reflects modulations in the magnitude of the Simon interference effect due to correspondence sequence. In the present study we used this measure to assess whether these modulations, thought to result from cognitive control mechanisms, are influenced by prior practice with an incompatible stimulus-response (S-R) mapping. To this end, PD and reaction times (RTs) were recorded while participants performed a Simon task before and after executing a spatially incompatible practice. The sequential analysis revealed that PD mirrored the conflict-adaptation pattern observed in RTs. Crucially, sequential modulations were not affected by prior practice. These findings support the view that the modulations of the Simon effect due to prior practice and those due to correspondence sequence result from two different mechanisms, and suggest that PD can help to better understand the mechanisms underlying response selection and cognitive control in the Simon task.

2016 - Reducing Implicit Racial Preferences: II Intervention Effectiveness Across Time [Articolo su rivista]
Lai, Calvin K; Skinner, Allison L.; Cooley, Erin; Murrar, Sohad; Brauer, Markus; Devos, Thierry; Calanchini, Jimmy; Xiao, Y. Jenny; Pedram, Christina; Marshburn, Christopher K.; Simon, Stefanie; Blanchar, John C.; Joy Gaba, Jennifer A.; Conway, John; Redford, Liz; Klein, Rick A.; Roussos, Gina; Schellhaas, Fabian M. H.; Burns, Mason; Hu, Xiaoqing; Mclean, Meghan C.; Axt, Jordan R.; Asgari, Shaki; Schmidt, Kathleen; Rubinstein, Rachel; Marini, Maddalena; Rubichi, Sandro; Shin, Jiyun Elizabeth L.; Nosek, Brian A.

Implicit preferences are malleable, but does that change last? We tested 9 interventions (8 real and 1 sham) to reduce implicit racial preferences over time. In 2 studies with a total of 6,321 participants, all 9 interventions immediately reduced implicit preferences. However, none were effective after a delay of several hours to several days. We also found that these interventions did not change explicit racial preferences and were not reliably moderated by motivations to respond without prejudice. Short-term malleability in implicit preferences does not necessarily lead to long-term change, raising new questions about the flexibility and stability of implicit preferences. (PsycINFO Database Record

2016 - Social modulation of spatial judgment: The case of line bisection task [Articolo su rivista]
D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Rubichi, Sandro; Di Gregorio, Gianluca; Tommasi, Luca

Our actions are influenced by the social context in which they are performed, specifically it has been shown that observing others' actions influences the execution of the same action.In the present study, we examined whether and to what extent observers are influenced by the presence and performance of another person in a visual spatial task, using a line bisection paradigm in which two participants performed the task in turns while sitting in front of each other. Thirty pairs of participants took part in the experiment, which was divided into a non-social and a social session. In the latter, each participant was alternatively an agent (performing the task) and an observer (evaluating covertly the other's performance). Results show that the leftward bias (pseudoneglect) in the line bisection task was significantly reduced when the task was performed in the social session, although the bias (both in the non-social and in the social session) was observed only when the left hand was used. Moreover, a dissociation between performance and perception was observed: the judgment given to the other's performance (which visually deviated in the direction opposite to one's own bias due to the spatial arrangement of participants and their facing vantage points) was significantly in disagreement with one's own performance.Overall, our results demonstrate that the other's presence influences our own action during a line bisection task and that spatial judgments on other's performance can modulate our own performance, even when coordination between participants is not required. Results are discussed in relation to both social influence and perspective taking in the general framework of interpersonal resonance.

2015 - Eyes keep watch over you! Competition enhances joint attention in females. [Articolo su rivista]
Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; Ricciardelli, Paola; Lugli, Luisa; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina

The present study investigated if the gaze-cuing effect (i.e., the tendency for observers to respond faster to targets in locations that were cued by others' gaze direction than to not-cued targets) is modulated by the type of relationship (i.e., cooperative or competitive) established during a previous interaction with a cuing face. In two experiments, participants played a series of single-shot games of a modified version of the two-choice Prisoner's Dilemma against eight simulated contenders. They were shown a fictive feedback indicating if the opponents chose to cooperate or compete with them. Opponents' faces were then used as stimuli in a standard gazecuing task. In Experiment 1 females classified as average in competitiveness were tested, while in Experiment 2 females classified as high and low in competitiveness were tested. We found that only in females classified as low and average in competitiveness the gaze-cuing effect for competitive contenders was greater than for cooperative contenders. These findings suggest that competitive opponents represent a relevant source of information within the social environment and female observers with low and average levels of competition cannot prevent from keeping their eyes over them.

2015 - Spatial parameters at the basis of social transfer of learning [Articolo su rivista]
Lugli, Luisa; Iani, Cristina; Milanese, Nadia; Sebanz, Natalie; Rubichi, Sandro

Recent research indicates that practicing on a joint spatial compatibility task with an incompatible stimulus-response mapping affects subsequent joint Simon task performance, eliminating the social Simon effect. It has been well established that in individual contexts, for transfer of learning to occur, participants need to practice an incompatible association between stimulus and response positions. The mechanisms underlying transfer of learning in joint task performance are, however, less well understood. The present study was aimed at assessing the relative contribution of three different spatial relations characterizing the joint practice context: stimulus-response, stimulus-participant and participant-response relations. In three experiments we manipulated the stimulus-response, stimulus-participant, and response-participant associations. We found that learning from the practice task did not transfer to the subsequent task when during practice stimulus-response associations were spatially incompatible and stimulus-participant associations were compatible (Experiment 1). However, a transfer of learning was evident when stimulus-participant associations were spatially incompatible. This occurred both when response-participant associations were incompatible (Experiment 2) and when they were compatible (Experiment 3). These results seem to support an agent co-representation account of correspondence effects emerging in joint settings since they suggest that, in social contexts, critical to obtain transfer-of-learning effects is the spatial relation between stimulus and participant positions while the spatial relation between stimulus and response positions is irrelevant.

2015 - The Simon effect in action: planning and/or on-line control effects? [Articolo su rivista]
Scorolli, Claudia; Pellicano, Antonello; Nicoletti, Roberto; Rubichi, Sandro; Castiello, Umberto

Choice reaction tasks are performed faster when stimulus location corresponds to response location (Simon effect). This spatial stimulus-response compatibility effect affects performance at the level of action planning and execution. However, when response selection is completed before movement initiation, the Simon effect arises only at the planning level. The aim of this study was to ascertain whether when a precocious response selection is requested, the Simon effect can be detected on the kinematics characterizing the online control phase of a non-ballistic movement. Participants were presented with red or green colored squares, which could appear on the right, left, above, or below a central cross. Depending on the square's color, participants had to release one of two buttons (right/left), then reach toward and press a corresponding lateral pad. We found evidence of the Simon effect on both action planning and on-line control. Moreover, the investigation of response conflict at the level of previous trials (i.e., n-1), a factor that might determine interference at the level of the current response, revealed a conflict adaptation process across trials. Results are discussed in terms of current theories concerned with the Simon effect and the distinction between action planning and control.

2014 - L'effetto Affordance viene modulato dalla presenza di un secondo partecipante? [Capitolo/Saggio]
Roberto, Nicoletti; Luisa, Lugli; Antonello, Pellicano; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro

Molte ricerche hanno messo in luce come l’elaborazione di immagini di oggetti afferrabili possa influenzare il nostro sistema motorio anche quando l’interazione reale con tali oggetti non è richiesta. È stato infatti dimostrato che anche la sola percezione di un oggetto implica l’attivazione di una serie di azioni congruenti con le proprietà visibili di quell’oggetto come, ad esempio, l’orientamento della sua parte afferrabile (i.e., effetto affordance). Negli ultimi anni lo studio delle affordance ha riscosso molto interesse tuttavia questo si è focalizzato principalmente sull’indagine di azioni semplici come ad esempio il raggiungimento e l’afferramento di un oggetto, tralasciando invece l’aspetto sociale dell’interazione motoria con gli oggetti. Ad esempio, è stato trascurato come le affordance di un oggetto possano modificarsi in funzione di una condizione sociale, cioè in funzione della presenza di altri agenti nel contesto in cui l’oggetto è inserito. Nel presente studio si è cercato di indagare se l’effetto affordance possa essere in un qualche modo modulato dalla presenza di altro agente attivo nel contesto sperimentale in cui un oggetto richiede una risposta. A tal fine è stata impiegata la condizione sperimentale più frequentemente utilizzata negli studi che hanno indagato il ruolo del contesto sociale sull’effetto Simon. I risultati evidenziano un pattern simile a quello emerso in tali studi. Infatti, nella condizione go/no-go l’effetto non è emerso, mentre si è osservato quando i partecipanti erano inseriti in una condizione sociale e condividevano l’esecuzione del compito. Da questi risultati si può preliminarmente concludere che l’effetto affordance e l’effetto Simon condividano alcuni meccanismi d’azione sia nella condizione individuale, sia in quella sociale.

2014 - Rappresentazione spaziale nel compito Simon sociale: esistono codici spaziali multipli? [Poster]
Iani, Cristina; Ciardo, FRANCESCA MARIA; ., ; Lugli, L.; Nicoletti, R.; Rubichi, Sandro

Introduzione. Studi recenti hanno dimostrato che, così come avviene in un compito Simon classico, in un compito Simon sociale il contesto condiviso porta alla codifica spaziale destra-sinistra dello stimolo e della risposta. In un compito Simon classico la posizione dello stimolo nello spazio è descritta da due tipi di codici spaziali: uno è determinato in base all’asse centrale dello spazio ed è definito come posizione assoluta, mentre l'altro è determinato in relazione all’emi-spazio di riferimento e può essere definito posizione relativa. In questo studio abbiamo indagato il ruolo di questi due codici nel produrre gli effetti di compatibilità spaziale in un compito condiviso. Metodo. I partecipanti (32, destrimani) sono stati assegnati in modo casuale a una delle due condizioni sperimentali: individuale o sociale. Nella condizione individuale, il partecipante eseguiva il compito da solo ed era seduto a destra o a sinistra rispetto al centro dello schermo. Nella condizione sociale, i partecipanti eseguivano il compito a coppie ed erano seduti uno accanto all’altro. In entrambe le condizioni è stato chiesto ai partecipanti di eseguire un compito Simon go/no-go, in cui lo schermo appariva suddiviso da tre linee verticali, che determinavano le 4 possibili posizioni dello stimolo. Risultati. All’interno di ciascun emi-spazio, i tempi di risposta sono risultati più lenti per le posizioni relative dello stimolo più esterne rispetto a quelle più interne. Inoltre, i risultati hanno mostrato un effetto di compatibilità tra la posizione della risposta e la posizione assoluta dello stimolo (effetto Simon per la posizione assoluta dello stimolo) solo nella condizione sociale, mentre per la condizione individuale nessun effetto di compatibilità è emerso. Conclusioni. I risultati indicano che quando due individui eseguono un compito condiviso la posizione dello stimolo è descritta attraverso un unico codice spaziale, cioè in base alla sua posizione assoluta nello spazio.

2014 - Reducing implicit racial preferences: I. A comparative investigation of 17 interventions. [Articolo su rivista]
C. K., Lai; M., Marini; S. A., Lehr; C., Cerruti; J. L., Shin; J. A., Joy Gaba; A. K., Ho; B. A., Teachman; S. P., Wojcik; S. P., Koleva; R. S., Frazier; L., Heiphetz; E., Chen; R. N., Turner; J., Haidt; S., Kesebir; C. B., Hawkins; H. S., Schaefer; Rubichi, Sandro; G., Sartori; C. M., Dial; N., Sriram; M. R., Banaji; B. A., Nosek

Many methods for reducing implicit prejudice have been identified, but little is known about their relative effectiveness. We held a research contest to experimentally compare interventions for reducing the expression of implicit racial prejudice. Teams submitted 17 interventions that were tested an average of 3.70 times each in 4 studies (total N ! 17,021), with rules for revising interventions between studies. Eight of 17 interventions were effective at reducing implicit preferences for Whites compared with Blacks, particularly ones that provided experience with counterstereotypical exemplars, used evaluative conditioning methods, and provided strategies to override biases. The other 9 interventions were ineffective, particularly ones that engaged participants with others’ perspectives, asked participants to consider egalitarian values, or induced a positive emotion. The most potent interventions were ones that invoked high self-involvement or linked Black people with positivity and White people with negativity. No intervention consistently reduced explicit racial preferences. Furthermore, intervention effectiveness only weakly extended to implicit preferences for Asians and Hispanics.

2014 - Response inhibition and adaptations to response conflict in 6-to 8-year-old children: Evidence from the Simon effect [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Stella, Giacomo; Rubichi, Sandro

Several studies have shown that the Simon effect, which is the advantage of spatial correspondence between stimulus and response locations when the stimulus location is task-irrelevant, decreases with increasing response times and is affected by preceding-trial correspondence. These mod- ulations suggest the existence of control mechanisms that adapt our behavior to current goals by responding to the conflict experienced within a trial and by preventing the recurrence of a conflict in the subsequent trial. The aim of the present study was to assess whether these control mecha- nisms, which are well consolidated in adults and in children older than 8 years of age, are present in children between 6 and 8 years old. To this end, we tested 32 first-grade (6–7 years) and 34 second-grade (7–8 years) children on a Simon task in which correspondence sequence was manipulated on a trial- by-trial basis. The Simon effect was larger for first- than for second-graders and decreased with increasing response times only in second-graders. Crucially, for both groups, the effect was reduced when the preceding trial was noncorresponding, and the reductions were comparable for the two groups, indicating that trial-by-trial control mechanisms are already present in first-grade children and may be dissociated from within-trial control adjustments.

2014 - The carry-over effect of competition in task-sharing: Evidence from the joint Simon task [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Filomena, Anelli; Roberto, Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro

The Simon effect, that is the advantage of the spatial correspondence between stimulus and response locations when stimulus location is a task-irrelevant dimension, occurs even when the task is performed together by two participants, each performing a go/no-go task. Previous studies showed that this joint Simon effect, considered by some authors as a measure of self-other integration, does not emerge when during task performance co-actors are required to compete. The present study investigated whether and for how long competition experienced during joint performance of one task can affect performance in a following joint Simon task. In two experiments, we required pairs of participants to perform together a social Simon task, before and after jointly performing together an unrelated non-spatial task (the Eriksen flanker task). In Experiment 1, participants always performed the joint Simon task under neutral instructions, before and after performing the joint flanker task in which they were explicitly required either to cooperate with (i.e., cooperative condition) or to compete against a co-actor (i.e., competitive condition). In Experiment 2, they were required to compete during the joint flanker task and to cooperate during the subsequent joint Simon task. Competition experienced in one task affected the way the subsequent joint task was performed, as revealed by the lack of the joint Simon effect, even though, during the Simon task participants were not required to compete (Experiment 1). However, prior competition no longer affected subsequent performance if a new goal that created positive interdependence between the two agents was introduced (Experiment 2). These results suggest that the emergence of the joint Simon effect is significantly influenced by how the goals of the co-acting individuals are related, with the effect of competition extending beyond the specific competitive setting and affecting subsequent interactions.

2014 - The influence of prior practice and handedness on the orthogonal Simon effect [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Milanese, Nadia; Rubichi, Sandro

When stimuli are arranged vertically and responses horizontally, right-handed participants respond faster with right responses to stimuli presented above fixation and with left responses to stimuli presented below fixation, even when stimulus position is task-irrelevant (orthogonal Simon effect). The aim of the present work was twofold. First, we assessed whether the orthogonal Simon effect evident in right-handed participants is present also for left-handed participants (Experiment 1). Second, we investigated whether for both groups of participants the orthogonal Simon effect is influenced by the stimulus-response (S-R) mapping used for an orthogonal spatial S-R compatibility task performed 5 min before (Experiment 2). Our results showed that the orthogonal Simon effect significantly differed in the two groups, with left-handers showing an advantage for the up-left/down-right mapping (Experiment 1). Interestingly, the orthogonal Simon effect was strongly influenced by prior practice regardless of the participants’ handedness (Experiment 2). These results suggest that the short-term S-R associations acquired during practice can override the long-term, hardwired associations established on the basis of handedness.

2014 - Ways of thinking about the incinerator: A typology of citizens' mindsets [Articolo su rivista]
Cavazza, Nicoletta; Rubichi, Sandro

This paper considers the social representation of an incinerator plant operating for more than 30 years in a medium-sized city in Italy. A survey was carried out with a representative sample of an Italian town, a community that was not generally hostile to it. On the basis of self-efficacy and trust in institutions, and by applying cluster analyses, we obtain evidence for four distinct groups labelled as Fatalists, Collaboratives, Activists ,and Delegants. The four groups express systematic variations in social representation. We discuss the theoretical and practical impacts of these results.

2013 - Emergence of the go/no-go Simon effect by means of practice and mixing paradigms [Articolo su rivista]
Luisa, Lugli; Iani, Cristina; Roberto, Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro

In two experiments, we tested whether the emergence of the go/no-go Simon effect could be determined by the strengthening of one specific S–R link in location-relevant trials performed right before (practice paradigm) or simultaneously (mixing paradigm) with the location-irrelevant (Simon) trials. Results showed a clear carry-over effect of the association between stimulus position and spatial response from the first task to the second one (Experiment 1) andwhen the two tasks were performed simultaneously (Experiment 2), even if participants were required to respond with the same key to only half of the stimuli (go/no-go tasks). We found that associative learning between the stimulus and response positions occurring during the go/no-go compatibility task, that is when location was relevant, influenced the way the go/no-go location-irrelevant task (Simon task) was performed. Our findings suggest that the STM links formed during a go/no-go spatial compatibility task are strong enough to influence the go/no-go Simon task.

2013 - Interhemispheric versus stimulus-response spatial compatibility effects in bimanual reaction times to lateralized visual stimuli. [Articolo su rivista]
A., Pellicano; V., Barna; R., Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro; C. A., Marzi


2013 - Modulation of the affordance effect through transfer of learning [Articolo su rivista]
G., Ottoboni; Iani, Cristina; A., Tessari; Rubichi, Sandro

Consistent evidence shows that practising with spatially incompatible stimulus–response trials modu- lates performance on following tasks requiring the solution of cognitive conflict such as the Simon and Stroop tasks. In the present study we assessed whether a spatially incompatible practice can modulate another effect that is thought to be due to a conflict between two response alternatives, the affordance effect. To this end, we requested participants to categorize pictures of common objects on the basis of their upright or inverted orientation. A group of participants performed the categorization task alone, while the other two groups performed the categorization task after practising with a spatial compatibility task with either a compatible or an incompatible mapping. Results showed that the spatially incompa- tible practice eliminated the affordance effect. These results indicate that the conflict at the basis of the affordance effect is not unavoidable but it rather permeable to modulations affecting the response selec- tion stage. Indeed the “emit the alternative spatial response” rule acquired during the spatially incom- patible task can transfer to and modulate how the subsequent affordance task is performed.

2013 - Observational learning without a model is influenced by the observer?s possibility to act: Evidence from the Simon task [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Ferraro, Luca; Roberto, Nicoletti; Vittorio, Gallese

We assessed whether observational learning in perceptual-motor tasks is affected by the visibility of an action producing perceived environmental effects and by the observer’s possibility to act during observation. To this end, we conducted three experiments in which participants were required to observe a spatial compatibility task in which only the effects of computer-generated responses were visible before executing a Simon task. In Experiment 1, we compared the effects of a passively observed practice with either a spatially compatible or incompatible stimulus–response (S–R) association. In Experiment 2, during the observed spatially incompatible practice participants were prevented from potentially acting, either because a plexiglas barrier separated the participant from the response device rendering it out of reach; or because the participant’s hands were tied; or the device affording a response was absent. In Experiment 3, the plexiglas presented an opening that could allow the participant to potentially reach and interact with it. As when the practice is physically performed, we found an elimination of the Simon effect following a spatially incompatible observed practice, suggesting that participants learned an incompatible S– R association by observing and transferred this knowledge to the subsequent Simon task. No evidence of transfer of learning was found when, during passive observation, the participant’s hands were tied, or a barrier prevented him/her from potentially interacting with the device, or no response device was present. Differently, a transfer-of-learning effect was observed when the barrier presented an opening. These results suggest that learning can derive from the mere observation of action effects, even when an action is not visible, as long as the observer has the potential to act.

2013 - Spatial correspondence parameters at the basis of transfer of learning in social contexts. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
L., Lugli; Iani, Cristina; N., Milanese; Rubichi, Sandro

Recent works indicated that performing a joint spatial compatibility task with an incompatible stimulus-response mapping affects subsequent joint Simon task performance, eliminating the social Simon effect (social transfer of learning effect or SToL effect). Crucially, the SToL effect was not tuned to the specific identity of the co-actor, and depended on the overlap between the spatial relations of the practice and transfer tasks. Starting from these findings, this study aimed at investigating which spatial relations between stimulus (S), response (R) or participant (P) positions are relevant for the SToL effect to occur. Two experiments were run in which the participant-response associations were incompatible (participants were required to respond with crossed arms), whereas the stimulus-response and stimulus-participant associations were manipulated. We found that learning derived from the practice task did not transfer to the subsequent task when stimulus-response associations were spatially incompatible and stimulus-participant associations were compatible (Experiment 1). However, a SToL effect was evident when stimulus-participant associations were spatially incompatible and stimulus-response associations were compatible (Experiment 2), hence suggesting that the spatial relation between stimulus and participant positions is crucial for the SToL effect to occur.

2013 - When co-action eliminates the Simon effect: Disentangling the impact of co-actor' s presence and task sharing on joint-task performance. [Articolo su rivista]
R., Sellaro; B., Treccani; Rubichi, Sandro; Cubelli, Roberto


2012 - Look What I Am Doing: Does Observational Learning Take Place in Evocative Task-Sharing Situations? [Articolo su rivista]
Ferraro, Luca; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; R., Nicoletti; V., Gallese; Rubichi, Sandro

Two experiments were conducted to investigate whether physical and observational practice in task-sharing entail comparable implicit motor learning. To this end, the social-transfer-of-learning (SToL) effect was assessed when both participants performed the joint practice task (Experiment 1 – complete task-sharing), or when one participant observed the other performing half of the practice task (Experiment 2 – evocative task-sharing). Since the inversion of the spatial relations between responding agent and stimulus position has been shown to prevent SToL, in the present study we assessed it in both complete and evocative task-sharing conditions either when spatial relations were kept constant or changed from the practice to the transfer session. The same pattern of results was found for both complete and evocative task-sharing, thus suggesting that implicit motor learning in evocative task-sharing is equivalent to that obtained in complete task-sharing. We conclude that this motor learning originates from the simulation of the complementary (rather than the imitative) action.

2012 - L’influenza dell’interdipendenza sulla costruzione di rappresentazioni condivise [Articolo su rivista]
F., Anelli; R., Nicoletti; L., Arcuri; Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina

Il presente lavoro ha voluto indagare se l’emergere di rappresentazioni condivise, ritenute essere alla base dell’azione condivisa, possa essere influenzato da fattori sociali, quali l’appartenenza di gruppo ed il rapporto di interdipendenza che lega due co-agenti. Tenendo in considerazione alcuni costrutti derivanti dalla psicologia sociale, in due esperimenti è stato chiesto ai partecipanti di svolgere insieme un compito Simon, manipolando la percezione di appartenenza allo stesso gruppo in base ad una categorizzazione sperimentale creata ad-hoc (Esperimento 1: coppie appartenenti vs. coppie non appartenenti alla stessa categoria) e il tipo di relazione di interdipendenza (Esperimento 2: situazione cooperativa vs. competitiva). I risultati dimostrano come l’effetto Simon sociale non sia modulato da una semplice categorizzazione in gruppi, ma sia significativamente influenzato dal tipo di interdipendenza percepita. L’effetto Simon risulta infatti assente solo nella situazione competitiva. Questi dati suggerirebbero che in condizioni di interazione, di norma, gli individui tendono a costruire rappresentazioni condivise che presuppongono la cooperazione tra individui. Mentre l’appartenenza a gruppi diversi non compromette la costruzione di rappresentazioni condivise, l’interazione competitiva tra gli individui della stessa coppia la influenza negativamente.

2012 - The Role of Self-Involvement in Shifting IAT Effects [Articolo su rivista]
Marini, Maddalena; Rubichi, Sandro; G., Sartori

Explicit measures can be affected by self-involvement in processing of a message (Johnson & Eagly, 1989). Here, we show that self- involvement in a counter-stereotypical message also influences implicit measures such as the Implicit Association Test (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998). In our study, racial attitudes changed only after reading a counter-stereotypical scenario in which participants were asked to imagine themselves as victims of an assault as opposed to simply imagine an assault to a person. This shift did not depend on evaluative instructions and it was transient as it was no longer present after 1 week. These results suggest that the self-involvement might be an important factor in shifting implicit measures.

2011 - Action observation causes implicit transfer of learning in task-sharing. [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Rubichi, Sandro; Ferraro, Luca; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; V., Gallese; R., Nicoletti

The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the implicit transfer of learning found in task-sharing situations occurs when one of the two participants observes the other. To this aim, two experiments using the social transfer of learning paradigm (Milanese et al., 2010) were conducted in which one of the participants observed the other performing a practice task. Then, both participants performed a joint Simon task. Results showed a modulation of the joint performance (i.e., the social Simon task), indicative of implicit transfer of learning, in both the agent and the observer. Thus, transfer of learning occurs even if the practice task is not actually performed hence indicating that both the agent and the observer co-represent the task as involving two co-acting partners. On the whole, these results suggest that shared representations are based on motor parameters.

2011 - Between-task transfer of learning from spatial compatibility to a color Stroop task [Articolo su rivista]
Marini, Maddalena; Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro

Responses to a relevant stimulus dimension are faster and more accurate when the stimulus and response spatially correspond compared to when they do not, even though stimulus position isirrelevant (Simon effect). It has been demonstrated that practicing with an incompatible spatial stimulus-response (S-R) mapping before performing a Simon task can eliminate this effect. In the present study we assessed whether a learned spatially incompatible S-R mapping can be transferred to a non-spatial conflict task, hence supporting the view that transfer effects are due to acquisition of a general “respond to the opposite stimulus value” rule. To this aim, we ran two xperiments in which participants performed a spatial compatibility task with either a compatible or an incompatible mapping and then transferred, after a 5 minutes delay, to a color Stroop task. InExperiment 1, responses were executed by pressing one of two keys on the keyboard in both practice and transfer tasks. In Experiment 2, responses were manual in the practice task and vocal in the transfer task. The spatially incompatible practice significantly reduced the color Stroop effect only when responses were manual in both tasks. These results suggest that during practice participants develop a response-selection strategy of emitting the alternative spatial response.

2011 - Cognitive conflict is an example of action-grounded cognition. [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; Riggio, Lucia; Gherri, Elena; Nicoletti, Roberto

The aim of the present work was to show that cognitive conflict, an issue that has been widely studied within theboundaries of the classical cognitive approach, is a clear example of higher order cognition tied to perceptionand action. Examples of how the cognitive conflict arising from spatial correspondence tasks is highly groundedin body attributes and in environmental/situational factors are provided. Spatial performance is stronglymodulated by handedness, prior experience and by social factors. In addition, in two experiments empiricalfindings are reported showing that the spatial correspondence effect is a function of the location of the dynamicevent even when target location is in the opposite position. These results point to the notion that spatialperformance is refractory from the intervention of higher order cognition.

2011 - Contextual determinants of the social-transfer-of-learning effect [Articolo su rivista]
Milanese, Nadia; Iani, Cristina; Sebanz, N.; Rubichi, Sandro

A recent study (Milanese et al. in Cogn 116(1):15-22, 2010) showed that performing a spatial compatibility task with incompatible S-R links (i.e., the practice task) alongside a co-actor eliminates the Simon effect in a subsequent joint Simon task (i.e., the transfer task). In the present study, we conducted three experiments to individuate which elements of the practice task need to remain constant for this social-transfer-of-learning to occur. In Experiment 1, participants performed the practice task alongside a co-actor and the Simon task with a different co-actor; in Experiment 2, they performed the practice task alongside a co-actor and the Simon task with the same co-actor after exchanging their seats. Results showed a modulation of the joint Simon effect in Experiment 1 only. In Experiment 2, we found a regular joint Simon effect. These results indicate that, while co-actor identity is not crucial, other elements of the context, such as keeping the same position across tasks, are necessary for the social-transfer-of-learning to occur. On the whole, our data suggest that the social-transfer-of-learning effect is not tuned to a specific co-actor and depends on spatial parameters of the practice and transfer tasks.

2011 - Facilitation and interference components in the joint Simon task [Articolo su rivista]
Ferraro, Luca; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; N., Milanese; Rubichi, Sandro

Two experiments were conducted to assess whether the joint Simon effect is composed of facilitation and interference and whether facilitation is increased by a joint spatially compatible practice performed before performing the joint Simon task. In both experiments, participants were required to perform a Simon task along another person. Trials could be corresponding, non-corresponding, and neutral. In Experiment 1, participants performed only the Simon task. In Experiment 2, participants first practiced on a joint spatial compatibility task with a compatible mapping and, after a 5-min delay, transferred to a joint Simon task. Results indicated that the joint Simon effect consisted primarily of interference, which was significantly increased by a spatially compatible practice performed jointly. These results allow us to better define in what ways the presence of the other influences performance, in showing that when participants perform a task along with another individual, they display a disadvantage (i.e., slower RTs) when they have to respond to stimuli appearing on the other agent's side.

2011 - Implicit racial stereotypes may temporarily shift after reading a story [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Marini, Maddalena; Rubichi, Sandro; G., Sartori

This study demonstrated that implicit preferences for Whites compared to Blacks can be temporarily (i.e., less than a week) reduced or reversed by reading a counter- stereotypical scenario about an assault. Explicit racial associations (i.e., White = Bad, Black = Good) appear to be not a crucial component of the scenario for shifting the bias but seem to play a role in increasing the malleability effect of implicit racial attitudes. When they were not included in the scenario, a reduction of the implicit preferences for Whites compared to Blacks (Experiment 2) was observed, whereas when they were included we found a reverse of the implicit racial bias indicating a preference for Blacks than to Whites (Experiment 1).

2011 - Sulla natura delle rappresentazioni condivise [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti

Nell’ambito di compiti percettivo-motori è noto da tempo come la prestazione di un individuo cambi in presenza di un altro individuo. Rispetto alla semplice percezione delle azioni altrui, l’abilità di svolgere azioni condivise prevede necessariamente la comprensione dei compiti e la capacità di anticipare il comportamento altrui allo scopo di raggiungere un efficace coordinamento coordinato. In altre parole, alla base di una efficace prestazione condivisa c’è una pianificazione del comportamento che prevede le azioni e i compiti che l’altro potenzialmente può svolgere. Come suggerito da studi recenti, l’insieme di queste abilità dipende dalla capacità di creare rappresentazioni condivise del compito, in cui sono integrate nello stesso piano comportamentale le azioni attuali e future, proprie e dell’altro agente. Lo scopo del presente lavoro è analizzare la natura delle rappresentazioni condivise ed i meccanismi cognitivi alla loro base.

2011 - The role of group membership on the modulation of joint action [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; F., Anelli; R., Nicoletti; L., Arcuri; Rubichi, Sandro

Two experiments were conducted to assess whether the emergence of shared representations, as indexed by the joint Simon effect, is modulated by perceived group membership. In both experiments, participants were required to perform a Simon task along another person who was perceived as belonging either to the same group or to a different group. In Experiment 1, ingroup-outgroup discrimination was obtained by dividing participants into two groups based on a superficial criterion; in Experiment 2, it was obtained by manipulating the interdependence experienced by the two acting individuals. The mere social categorization of co-acting participants into groups did not modulate the joint Simon effect which was observed even when participants believed to perform the task along with an individual belonging to a different social group (Experiment 1). On the contrary, the effect was modulated by perceived interdependence, with a null effect when participants experienced negative interdependence (Experiment 2). These results suggest that when acting in a social context, by default, individuals may perceive positive interdependence with co-acting individuals, even when cooperation is not explicitly requested.

2010 - Anche le fotografie hanno un orientamento politico: personalizzazione della politica e categorizzazione delle immagini di propaganda. [Articolo su rivista]
Cavazza, Nicoletta; A., Serpe; Graziani, Anna Rita; Rubichi, Sandro

Gli studi qui presentati mostrano che la congruenza fra immagini di propaganda politica e la rappresentazione simbolica condivisa che gli elettori hanno degli schieramenti facilita la codifica corretta delle immagini stesse. Per raggiungere questo scopo ci siamo riferiti al contesto italiano in cui il processo di personalizzazione della politica è avvenuto in maniera asimmetrica (ha coinvolto più la destra della sinistra). I risultati evidenziano che il processo di personalizzazione asimmetrica si riflette sulla rappresentazione delle due coalizioni che a sua volta influenza il processo di categorizzazione delle immagini. Infatti, indipendentemente dall’orientamento politico dei partecipanti, la fotografia di un singolo candidato (reale come nello studio 1 o fittizio come nello studio 2) è attribuita con maggior frequenza al centro-destra, mentre la fotografia di un gruppo eterogeneo di persone è attribuita con maggiore frequenza al centro-sinistra.

2010 - Determining priority between attentional and referential-coding sources of the Simon effect through optokinetic stimulation [Articolo su rivista]
Figliozzi, F.; Silvetti, M.; Rubichi, Sandro; Doricchi, F.

The “Simon effect” is the performance advantage for spatially corresponding target–response ensemblesthat is observed when coding of target position is irrelevant for the selection of motor responses. The“attentional-shift” account of the Simon effect holds that it arises from the congruency between responselocation and the direction of the last shift of attention toward the target. The “referential-coding” accounttraces the origin of the Simon effect back to the congruency between the response location and theposition of the target with respect to a spatial reference frame. We were able to contrast these twohypotheses using full-field horizontal optokinetic stimulation (OKS). It was shown that OKS moving inone horizontal direction drives covert orienting of attention toward the side of arrival of OKS, i.e. the “Incoming”side, which is opposed to the direction of OKS motion toward the “Out-going” side (Teramoto etal., 2004; Watanabe, 2001). We therefore asked healthy participants to discriminate between slow andfast velocities of leftward or rightward OKS. “Fast” and “slow” responses were associated to responsebuttons positioned in the left or right side of space. The “attentional-shift” account of the Simon effectpredicts that response compatibility should be related to the direction of the attentional shift induced byOKS, i.e. in the direction opposite to OKS motion. By contrast, the “referential-coding” hypothesis predictsthat response compatibility should be related to the direction of OKS displacement with respect to itsstarting position.Weobserved faster RTs when the response button was on the “In-coming” side of space,opposite to the direction ofOKSmotion. This result supports priority of attentional over referential-codingfactors in the genesis of the Simon effect.

2010 - La costruzione di rappresentazioni condivise: Il ruolo delle variabili sociali [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
F., Anelli; Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti; L., Arcuri; Rubichi, Sandro

Nel panorama della psicologia cognitiva e delle neuroscienze cognitive, stanno acquisendo sempre maggiore importanza gli studi sulle azioni condivise, intese come “qualsiasi forma di interazione sociale attraverso la quale due o più persone coordinano le loro azioni nello spazio e nel tempo per apportare un cambiamento nell’ambiente”. E’ stato ipotizzato che la capacità di interagire in modo efficiente con gli altri e di coordinare le proprie azioni con le azioni altrui dipenda dalla creazione di rappresentazioni condivise che integrano le azioni proprie e quelle dell’altro. La presente ricerca si propone di indagare l’influenza che variabili sociali, quali l’appartenenza dei partecipanti allo stesso gruppo e la relazione di interdipendenza, possono avere sul processo di formazione delle rappresentazioni condivise.

2010 - Per quale ragione l'effetto Simon sociale è di minore entità rispetto a quello individuale? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Ferraro, Luca; Milanese, Nadia; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; Rubichi, Sandro


2010 - Real life motor training modifies spatial performance: The advantage of being drummers [Articolo su rivista]
A., Pellicano; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; P., Ricciardelli; A. M., Borghi; R., Nicoletti

We compared the performance of skilled drummers to that of non-drummers and non-musicians in the Simon and spatial stimulus-response compatibility (SRC) tasks to investigate whether and to what extent spatial performance can be modified by motor behaviors acquired in real life.Drummers were chosen because, compared to other musicians and to the general population, their efficient performance mainly depends on the processing of spatial information.While the Simon effect was equivalent for the three groups, the spatial SRC effect was less pronounced in drummers. The advantage was present even when feet were used as respondingeffectors, suggesting a central locus of the effect. These results suggest that spatial S-R translations are influenced by real life motor training, with drummers’ training speeding-up theintentional S-R translations when stimulus and response locations are on opposite sides.

2010 - Right-wing face, left-wing faces: The matching effect in the realm of political persuasion. [Articolo su rivista]
Cavazza, Nicoletta; Graziani, Anna Rita; A., Serpe; Rubichi, Sandro

We present two studies showing that a matching effect in persuasion can be observed between message content and the shared symbolic representation of the message object. The experimental paradigm was built on the Italian political context where citizens hold asymmetrical symbolic representations about the right-wing and the left-wing (i.e., centered on the leaders in the former, and on the coalition in the latter). Since 2001, both coalitions have focused their persuasive strategies principally on candidate image. Thus, the right-wing coalition is in a communicative congruence condition, whereas the left-wing coalition is in an incongruent condition. Results showed that when the coalitions use these images in corresponding ways, they provoke in the audience an impression of message efficacy, enhancing their persuasiveness.

2010 - Shared learning shapes human performance:Transfer effects in task sharing [Articolo su rivista]
N., Milanese; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro

We investigated whether performing a task with a co-actor shapes the way a subsequent task is performed. In four experiments participants were administered a Simon task after practicing a spatial compatibility task with an incompatible S-R mapping. In Experiment, 1 they performed both tasks alongside another person; in Experiment 2 they performed the spatial compatibility task alone, responding to only one stimulus position, and the Simon task with another person; inExperiment 3, they performed the spatial compatibility task with another person and the Simon task alone; finally, in Experiment 4, they performed the spatial compatibility task alone and the Simontask with another person. The incompatible practice eliminated the Simon effect in Experiments 1 and 4. These results indicate that when a task is distributed between two participants with each one performing a different part of it, they tend to represent the whole task rather than their own part of it. This experience can influence the way a subsequent task is performed, as long as this latter occurs in a social context.

2010 - Simon-like and functional affordance effects with tools: The effects of object perceptual discrimination and object action state [Articolo su rivista]
A., Pellicano; Iani, Cristina; A. M., Borghi; Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti

In the present study two separate stimulus–response compatibility effects (functional affordance and Simon-like effects) were investigated with centrally presented pictures of an object tool (a torch) characterized by a structural separation between the graspable portion and the goal-directed portion.In Experiment 1, participants were required to decide whether the torch was red or blue, while in Experiment 2 they were required to decide whether the torch was upright or inverted. Our resultsshowed that with the same stimulus two types of compatibility effect emerged: one based on the direction signalled by the goal-directed portion of the tool (a Simon-like effect as observed in Experiment 1),and the other based on the actions associated with an object (a functional affordance effect as observed in Experiment 2). Both effects emerged independently of the person’s intention to act on the stimulus,but depended on the stimulus properties that were processed in order to perform the task.

2009 - Attention control and susceptibility to hypnosis [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; F., Ricci; G., Baroni; Rubichi, Sandro

The present work aimed at assessing whether the interference exerted by task-irrelevant spatial information is comparable in high- and low-susceptible individuals and whether it may be eliminated by means of a specific posthypnotic suggestion. To this purpose high- and low-susceptible participants were tested using a Simon-like interference task after the administration of a suggestion aimed at preventing the processing of the irrelevant spatial information conveyed by the stimuli. The suggestion could be administered either in the absence or following a standard hypnotic induction. We showed that, outside from the hypnotic context, the Simon effect was similar in high and low-susceptible participants and it was significantly reduced following the posthypnotic suggestion in high-susceptible participants only. These results show that a specific posthypnotic suggestion can alter information processing in high-susceptible individuals and reduce the interfering effect exerted by arrow stimuli.

2009 - Co-occurrence of sequential and practice effects in the Simon task: Evidence for two independent mechanisms affecting response selection [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; E., Gherri; R., Nicoletti

The Simon effect refers to the observation that responses to a relevant stimulus dimension are faster and moreaccurate when the stimulus and response spatially correspond than when they do not, even though stimulusposition is irrelevant. Recent findings have suggested that the Simon effect can be strongly modulated by priorpractice with a spatially incompatible mapping and by correspondence sequence. Although practice is thought toinfluence conditional stimulus–response (S–R) processing, leaving response priming through the unconditionalroute unaffected, sequential effects are thought to represent trial-by-trial adaptations that selectively involveunconditional S–R processing. In the present study, we tested this assumption by assessing the effects of correspondencesequence both when the Simon task alone was performed and when it was preceded by a spatialcompatibility task with either incompatible (Experiments 1–2) or compatible (Experiment 2) instructions. Theobservation that practice and correspondence sequence co-occur and exert additive effects strongly demonstratesthat the two factors affect different processing routes.

2009 - Sospensione dell'incredulità e false credenze: una verifica sperimentale [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mariani, Michele; Marini, Maddalena; Altoè, G.; Rubichi, Sandro

La sospensione dello scetticismo è un atteggiamento che consiste nell’accettare delle affermazioni sospendendo il giudizio di veridicità delle stesse. Quindi consideraremomentaneamente come vere delle affermazioni che altrimenti giudicheremmo come false.Gilbert e colleghi (Gilbert, Krull, & Malone, 1990) sostengono che la sospensione dell’incredulità, e la conseguente accettazione di ogni affermazione come vera, sia un processoautomatico e condizione necessaria per comprendere. Le persone quindi avrebbero una scarsa capacità di mantenere un atteggiamento scettico o di non farsi influenzare daaffermazioni non veritiere se sottoposte a carico cognitivo o a limiti temporali.L’obiettivo di questo studio è di testare tali assunzioni in due esperimenti.

2009 - The Simon Effect occurs relative to the direction of an attention shift. [Capitolo/Saggio]
Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti; Iani, Cristina; C., Umiltà

We investigated whether the Simon effect depends on the orienting of attention. In Experiment 1, participants were required to execute left-right discriminative responses to 2 patterns that were presented to the left or right of fixation. The 2 patterns were similar, and thediscrimination was difficult. A letter at fixation signaled whether the current trial was a catch trial. The results showed a reversal of the Simon effect. That is, spatially noncorresponding responses were faster than spatially corresponding responses. In Experiment 2, the discrimination of the relevant stimulus attribute was easy. In Experiment 3, the discrimination of the relevant stimulus attribute was difficult, but the stimulus exposure time was long. In eitherexperiment, the regular Simon effect was reinstated. In Experiment 4, the letter that signaled a catch trial appeared to the left or right of the imperative stimulus. The Simon effect occurred relative to the position of the letter.

2008 - Do we access object manipulability while we categorize? Evidence from reaction time studies. [Capitolo/Saggio]
BORGHI A., M; Bonfiglioli, C; Ricciardelli, P; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, R.

In two experiments we investigate whether different decision tasks were influenced by object manipulability. In Experiment 1, participants had to categorize objects represented by drawings or by words into artefacts or natural kinds. Natural objects received faster responses than artefacts, probably because the latter activate functional information that interferes with task responses. In Experiment 2, manipulability was made relevant to the task by asking participants to categorize items into two categories depending on whether or not they could be picked up and put inside a backpack. The disadvantage of artefacts over natural kinds was still found. Intriguingly, now an effect of manipulability was also found, but only with natural kinds, probably due to the fact that they convey information associated both with action (“how”) and function (“what for”). The same pattern of results found with drawings and words suggests that also words activate motor information on how to grasp objects.

2008 - Fattori statici e fattori dinamici nella codifica spaziale [Capitolo/Saggio]
Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro


2008 - The role of attention in the occurrence of the affordance effect [Articolo su rivista]
L., Riggio; Iani, Cristina; E., Gherri; F., Benatti; Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti

It has been demonstrated that visual objects activate responses spatially corresponding to the orientation (left or right) of their graspable parts. To investigate the role of attention orienting in the generation of this effect, which we will refer to as affordance effect, we ran three experiments in which the target stimulus could either correspond or not with a dynamic event capturing attention. Participants were required to press a left or right key according to the vertical orientation (upward or inverted) of objects presented with their handles oriented to the right or to the left. In Experiments 1 and 2, the objects were located above or below fixation, while in Experiment 3, to assess the contemporary presence of the affordance and Simon effects, the objects were located to the left or right of fixation. The results showed that while the affordance effect, when evident, was always relative to the target object, irrespective of its attentional capturing properties, the Simon effect occurred relative to the event capturing attention. These findings suggest that automatic and controlled processes of visual attention may play a differential role in the occurrence of the two effects.

2007 - Are visual stimuli sufficient to evoke motor information? Studies with hand primes [Articolo su rivista]
Am, Borghi; C., Bonfiglioli; Lugli, Licia; P., Ricciardelli; Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti

In two experiments we assessed whether seeing objects automatically activates information regarding how to manipulate them. In Experiment 1 participants categorized photographs of objects that could be manipulated either with a power or a precision grip into artefacts or natural kinds. Target-objects were preceded by primes consisting of photographs of hands in grasping postures (precision or power grip). Experiment 2 involved a preliminary motor training phase in which each visual prime was associated with the actual motor action. In both experiments, natural kinds graspable with a power grip produced the fastest responses. In Experiment 2 we also found a congruency effect between the prime and the kind of grip required by the object (precision, power). Results suggest that visual stimuli automatically activate motor information. Specific motor programs are, however. activated only if motor training is performed before the categorization task. Implications of the results for the understanding of the organization of conceptual and motor information in the brain are discussed. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

2007 - Indagine sulla percezione dei giovani italiani del nuovo regime previdenziale [Articolo su rivista]
Ferretti, Riccardo; Rubichi, Sandro; Rubaltelli, Enrico

Negli ultimi anni il tema della previdenza è particolarmente dibattuto in tutto il mondo. Proprio per provare a risolvere i problemi del sistema previdenziale nazionale il governo italiano ha attuato una riforma delle pensioni (legge 252/2005) che mira a rafforzare l’uso delle forme di pensione complementare ed introduce il meccanismo del silenzio/assenso per quanto riguarda l’adesione alle pensioni complementari (scelta tacita). Si tratta di una legge che raccoglie alcuni dei suggerimenti forniti dalla finanza comportamentale in tema di risparmio e pensioni. Nel presente contributo descriviamo i risultati proposti dalla finanza comportamentale mettendoli in relazione con i risultati di un’indagine sulla previdenza condotta con un campione di giovani italiani. Il principale risultato dell’indagine è che i giovani italiani hanno un atteggiamento favorevole nei confronti della pensione complementare, anche se al contempo mostrano una propensione a commettere i classici errori comportamentali descritti in letteratura. Nonostante la nuova legge previdenziale sia un passo avanti nell’aiutare gli italiani a risparmiare meglio, dall’indagine emerge che il nuovo sistema potrebbe contrastare con le intenzioni delle persone ed impedire loro di raggiungere risultati soddisfacenti.

2007 - Spatial coding and central patterns: Is there something special about the eyes? [Articolo su rivista]
Ricciardelli, P; Bonfiglioli, C; Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, R.

In this study we investigated in a Simon-like taskwhether task-irrelevant spatial information, delivered bycentrally presented patterns, interfered with response selectionin the same way as laterally presented stimuli. Second,we asked whether such interference was equal for differentkinds of stimuli. Participants were required to respond tothe colour of two framed squares, two arrows, or twoschematic eyes by pressing one of two lateralized responsekeys. The results consistently show that the Simon effectoccurs independently of the nature of the stimulus, as classicallyreported for lateralized stimuli. Response times wereinfluenced by the direction and frame-relative position ofthe stimuli, being faster for responses corresponding to thedirection indicated by the stimuli than for noncorrespondingresponses regardless of stimulus types. Contrary to findingswith lateralized nondirectional stimuli, such an effectincreased with increasing RTs indicating that for centrallypresented patterns the extraction of spatial information istime consuming.

2006 - Human Factors in off-highway vehicles - Design and prototyping of a control and information visualization system [Capitolo/Saggio]
Tesauri, F; Iani, Cristina; Mariani, Michele; Rubichi, Sandro; Marzani, S; Montanari, R.

Human Factors in off-highway vehicles - Design and prototyping of a control and information visualization system

2006 - Hypnotic suggestion modulates cognitive conflict - The case of the flanker compatibility effect [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; F., Ricci; E., Gherri; Rubichi, Sandro

The present work was aimed at investigating whether the flanker compatibility effect can be eliminated by means of a posthypnotic suggestion influencing attentional focusing. In Experiment 1, participants who scored high and low on hypnotic susceptibility performed the flanker compatibility task when naturally awake and when under a posthypnotic suggestion aimed at increasing the target's discriminability from the flankers. Results showed that the posthypnotic suggestion effectively eliminated the flanker compatibility effect in highly susceptible participants, whereas low-susceptibility participants did not show any reduction in the effect. In Experiment 2, highly susceptible participants performed the task after receiving a suggestion but without the induction of hypnosis. Results showed that the suggestion alone was not sufficient to reduce the flanker compatibility effect. These results support the view that in highly susceptible participants, hypnotic suggestion can influence the ability to focus on relevant information.

2006 - Spatial coding in two dimensions [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; Vu, K; Nicoletti, R; Proctor, R.

There has been growing interest in exploring human performance for situations in which stimuli and/or responses vary along both horizontal and vertical dimensions. Earlier studies indicated that there is a prevalence of the horizontal dimension over the vertical dimension in the spatial codes that are used for response selection. We review evidence about spatial coding for 2-D stimulus-response sets and accounts that have been proposed for explaining how it takes place. Particular attention is devoted to the relative salience account, which provides the most comprehensive explanation of 2-D spatial coding. We also evaluate the influence of speed of spatial code formation, number of reference frames, and leaning on subjects performance in 2-D tasks.

2006 - The Simon effect and handedness: evidence for a dominant-hand attentional bias in spatial coding [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti

In two experiments, the relation between handedness and the size of the Simon effect in each visual hemifield was investigated. Experiment I showed that the Simon effect was larger in the right visual hemifield in right-handers and in the left visual hemifield in left-handers, whereas ambidextrous individuals showed a symmetric Simon effect. In Experiment 2, participants performed the same Simon task as in Experiment 1, but with their hands crossed. The right- and left-handed groups showed a reversed pattern of results with respect to Experiment 1. We explained this phenomenon as a part of a more general account in which perception and action are embedded in a perception-for-action. system. In this system, an attentional bias originating from the field of operation of the dominant hand would be at the basis of the relationship between the asymmetry of the Simon effect and handedness.

2005 - Hypnotic susceptibility, baseline attentional functioning, and the Stroop task [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; Ricci, F.; Padovani, R.; Scaglietti, L.

According to the theoretical framework relating hypnosis to attention, baseline attentional functioningin highly hypnotizable individuals should be more efficient than in low hypnotizable individuals. However,previous studies did not find differences in Stroop-like tasks in which the measure indicative of the Stroopinterference effect was based on response latencies. This study was designed to determine whether subjectswith different levels of hypnotic susceptibility show differences in baseline attentional functioning. To assessthis hypothesis, high, medium, and low hypnotizable subjects performed a Stroop task designed to evaluateaccuracy performance, before being subjected to hypnotic induction. Results showed that the Stroop interferenceeffect was smaller in high hypnotizable subjects than in low hypnotizable subjects, whereas it wasnot different between high, and medium hypnotizable subjects. This outcome supports the notion that baselineattentional functioning is related to hypnotic susceptibility.

2005 - Modelli mentali e processi di selezione dei manager [Articolo su rivista]
Rubaltelli, E; Savadori, L; Rubichi, Sandro; Tedeschi, Marcello

La selezione dei manager è un processo complesso di vitale importanze per la sopravvivienza di una azienda. la scelta del candidato ottimale deve passare attraverso l'uso di una serie di strumenti il più possibile validi ed efficaci; a loro volta questi strumenti devono essere applicati alla misurazione di criteri oggettivi e predittivi delle reali performance lavorative.

2005 - Modulation of the vertical Simon effect in two-dimensional tasks: The effect of learning [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; E., Gherri; R., Nicoletti; C., Umilta

The present work was aimed at investigating whether automatic two-dimensional spatial coding, as indexed by the Simon task, is affected by prior practice with a vertical spatial compatibility task. One group of subjects performed a two-dimensional Simon task in which the vertical Simon effect was absent. The other group practised the vertical dimension by performing a vertical spatial compatibility task before the two-dimensional Simon task. With prior practice, the vertical Simon effect was significant. These results are discussed in the framework of the factors that affect two-dimensional spatial coding.

2005 - Numerical information format and investment decisions: implications for the disposition effect and the status quo bias. [Articolo su rivista]
Rubaltelli, E.; Rubichi, Sandro; Savadori, L.; Tedeschi, Marcello; Ferretti, Riccardo

Investment decisions are very difficult because they involve money and can impact ourquality of life. According to the axioms of rationality, different but equivalent informationformats should not affect investment strategies. The authors perform two experimentshere, and find evidence of a strong absolute magnitude effect on investment decisions.In Experiment 1, participants (students) chose to sell a losing fund more oftenwhen returns were expressed as a percentage of variation between the buying valueand the actual value (e.g., 24%) than when they were expressed as a monetary differencebetween the buying price and the actual price (e.g., $0.24). In the context of theexperiment, the percentage format decreased the disposition effect significantly. Furthermore,describing the stock returns as ratios (e.g., ¼) increased the tendency towardthe status quo bias. In Experiment 2, the authors showed that the absolute magnitudeof the numbers shaped participants’ satisfaction with fund returns, and wasresponsible for the different choices of investment strategies.

2005 - Right-left prevalence with task-irrelevant spatial codes [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti; C., Umiltà

The present work investigated the right-left prevalence effect caused by the automatic activation of horizontal and vertical spatial codes in a task (Simon task) in which spatial information is task-irrelevant. Experiment 1 showed a horizontal Simon effect and a vertical Simon effect with a two-dimensional stimulus-response set. In Experiments 2 and 3, the right-left prevalence was obtained in two-dimensional Simon tasks with two contralateral effectors and four effectors respectively. Experiment 4 showed that horizontal coding is based on multiple spatial codes, whereas only one spatial code was formed for vertical coding. On the whole, these results support the notion that the right-left prevalence effect is a general phenomenon affecting spatial coding, and suggest that the horizontal dimension is prevalent because it is based on multiple spatial codes.

2005 - Vedere prima una mano e poi un oggetto: Attiviamo informazioni sull’interazione con gli oggetti? [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Borghi, A.; Bonfiglioli, C.; Lugli, L.; Ricciardelli, P.; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, R.

Vedere prima una mano e poi un oggetto: Attiviamo informazioni sull’interazione con gli oggetti?

2005 - Visual hand primes and manipulable objects [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
A., Borghi; C., Bonfiglioli; L., Lugli; P., Ricciardelli; Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti

In three experiments we assessed whether priming a handshape activated motor information. Primes consisted ofphotographs of hands displaying one of three postures(precision, power, open hand). Targets consisted ofphotographs (Experiment 1 and 3) or words (Experiment 2) ofobjects, artifacts and natural kinds, manipulable with aprecision (pencil) or with a power grip (bottle). Participantshad to categorize objects into artifacts or natural kinds bypressing a different key. They had to respond to target-objectsonly when the targets followed the precision and the powerprimes, while they didn't have to respond when the targetsfollowed the open hand (catch-trial). In Experiments 1 and 2,artifacts were processed slower than natural kinds, and naturalkinds graspable with a power grip were processed faster thanthose graspable with a precision grip. These results confirmthat visual primes activate general motor information onobjects. However, only in Experiment 3, in which a motortraining phase lead participants to associate a specific visualprime with a motor action, we found an interaction betweenKind of Prime (precision, power) and Kind of Grip (precision,power grip). Results suggest that vision and motorinformation are strictly interwoven and support theoriesaccording to which object concepts are grounded insensorimotor experience.

2004 - Cognitive impairment and postural control in elderly [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Manni, B; Martini, E; Neviani, F; Lozzi, F; Rubichi, Sandro; Neri, Mirco

Background: a correct postural control stems by central nervous system-cortical and subcortical- and the peripheral one. With aging, the highprevalence of polimorbidity undermines these mechanisms determining agrowth of risk to falls. Some evidence has showed that an interpolatedcognitive task increases, even in healthy subjects, postural imbalance.At the moment, just a little has known about the relationship betweenmild-moderate dementia and postural control. Objective: to investigate1. possible differences in postural sways between controls and dementedsubjects at quiet standing and with an interpolated cognitive task; 2. die roteof frontal functions in the integration of postural and cognitive performance,requiring spatial or verbal skills. Materials and methods: we have chosen34 subjects: M = 14 and F = 20, aged between 65 and 85, 10 controls and24 demented patients with MMSE score ranging from 21 to 26. Ancillarytests were applied to exclude visual, hearing, vestibular and proprioceptivedisabling deficits, muscle strength deficits, high level of co-morbidity.Tinetti's scale was applied to check balance and gait, while three indices ofthe CAMDEX (CAMCOG, Depress and Organicity) were used to evaluatethe cognitive level, depressive symptoms and functional abilities. Both DualTask test and verbal fluency were used to assess frontal functions. Twocomputerized indices of postural control were obtained by a static forceplatform (Kistler type 9284) allowing to measure the postural sway, in arepeated 20" trials protocol, in two different experimental conditions: 1. atquiet standing condition, with subsequently open and closed eyes sessions2. at interference condition, with the performance of an interpolated verbal(counting back) or spatial (a plane rotation pictures paradigm) cognitivetask, administrated to each subject in a random sequence. Conclusions:the results show that any significant difference could be detected betweengroups at basal evaluation, while sways significantly increase in dementiapatients at interference trials, namely during verbal cognitive task. Moreovera significant relationship could be detected between the increase of posturalsways during verbal task and frontal impaired performance in dementedsubjects.

2004 - Do we access objects manipulability while we categorize [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Borghi, A. M.; Bonfiglioli, C.; Ricciardelli, P.; Rubichi, Sandro; Nicoletti, R.

Do we access objects manipulability while we categorize

2004 - Does the Simon effect affect movement execution? [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; A., Pellicano

The present work set out to test the prediction of the dual-route response selection account of the Simon effect, which maintains that the Simon effect, and its facilitation and interference components, should show up at the response selection stage irrespective of when it takes place during processing. Previous works have shown that in the case of a movement response, two strategies can be adopted for responding. The main difference between these two response strategies consists of when response selection operations take place. The two experiments reported in the present study showed that when response selection operates clearly before movement initiations, the Simon effect shows up in reaction time and not in movement time.

2004 - Le basi psicofisiologiche del comportamento. Testo introduttivo per corsi umanistici [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Iani, Cristina; Rubichi, Sandro

Testo introduttivo per corsi umanistici che illustra alcuni aspetti fondamentali del quadro di riferimento biologico utili alla comprensione del funzionamento mentale dell'uomo.

2004 - Long-term effects of vaccination on attentional performance [Articolo su rivista]
Nicoletti, Roberto; Porro, Carlo Adolfo; G., Brighetti; Monti, Daniela; Pagnoni, Giuseppe; Guido, Marcello; Rubichi, Sandro; Franceschi, Claudio

To investigate the possible influence of stimulation of the immune system on cognitive tasks, C healthy volunteers were vaccinated against hepatitis B and tested over a 6 month-period in a simple reaction times and the Stroop task. In general, the Stroop effect demonstrates that both the name and meaning of a word are automatically processed even when voluntary attention is trying hard not to process them. Unlike placebo group, vaccinated subjects showed a persistent lack of the classical Stroop effect. These findings may be explained by a constraint satisfaction model of the Stroop task, assuming a selective weakening of the connection matrix, and suggest that immune-cognitive effects may occur, besides the well known immune-cognitive influences like those elicited by emotional stress.

2004 - Right-left prevalence effect with horizontal and vertical effectors [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti; A., Pelosi; C., Umilta

We investigated the right-left prevalence effect in spatial compatibility tasks by assessing subjects' performance on a two-dimensional task in which both the horizontal and vertical spatial dimensions were task relevant. Two experiments were performed, in which stimulus-response mappings were one-dimensional (Experiment 1) and two-dimensional (Experiment 2). The subjects responded by using either horizontal or vertical effectors to stimuli appearing in four possible locations. With the one-dimensional mapping, the spatial compatibility effect was present only in the dimension relevant to the mapping. With the two-dimensional mapping, the horizontal compatibility effect was always present, whereas the vertical compatibility effect was present only when vertical effectors were used. This pattern of results indicates that horizontal coding takes place with either horizontal or vertical effectors, whereas vertical coding takes place only when vertical effectors are used.

2004 - Vividness effect: implications for judgement and choice [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Tedeschi, Marcello; Rubaltelli, E.; Savadori, L.; Rubichi, Sandro; Rumiati, R.

Previous studies demonstrated that vivid messages can have an impact on judgements and choice. More vivid o specific is a messege and more persuasive and attractive it is perceived. In particular when individuals are presented with a choice the vivid message is more attractive than a generale message and when individual are asked to judge two different messages the vivid one is more persuasive than the general message.

2003 - The impact of vascular signs and symptoms on cognitive, affective profile and disability [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Neri, M; Neviani, F; Martini, E; Rubichi, S; Suzzi, E; Cipolli, C

Objective:Disability is a major burden afflicting older people and their carers. Both cognitive impairment and depression contribute to disability. The cognitive decline due to primary degenerative dementia is exacerbated by minor or silent cerebral infarcts, and these subcortical lesions are considered the etiological basis of vascular depression, characterized, besides depressive symptoms, by psychomotor slowing and withdrawal. Design:to evaluate the influence of a vascular lesions on cognitive impairment and depression and their relationship with disability. Materials and Methods:A sample of 234 outpatients (134 females and 100 males, mean age 72.7, sd 7.1), fulfilling the criteria for mild to moderate dementia was administered the CAMDEX. We primarily considered its three main indices Camcog (a neuropsychological battery measuring cognitive performance), Depress (a check-list of depressive signs and symptoms) and Organicity (a measure of functional competence). Depress items were grouped into two components: Mood and Motivation.The Hachinsky score was computed to assess the vascular component of the clinical picture. Results:102 subjects had a probable "pure" degenerative dementia (Hachinscky score °Ü 4) and 132 subjects had a vascular component (Hachinsky score °Ý 5). Subjects with probable vascular or degenerative dementia did not differ with respect to Camcog and Organicity scores, whereas vascular patients showed a significant higher Depress score (F=15,897; p=.000). Pearson correlation analysis showed that Hachinsky score significantly correlated with Depress (p=.000) and Organicity (p=.026), whereas no significant correlation with Camcog score emerged. Moreover, the two components of the Depress index showed strong and significant correlations with both Hachinscky (p=.000) and Organicity scores (vs mood -p=.000; vs motivation -p=.011) A partial correlation analysis, controlling for the influence of Hachinsky score on the relationship between Depress and Organic scores, remained high and significant (p=.000). Conversely, when the level of Depression was considered as controlling factor, Organic and Hachinsky scores were no longer correlated (p=.065). The same held true when the two components of Depression were considered as controlling factors, and the relationships between Organicity and Hachinsky did not reach significance (p=.264). Conclusion:In our sample, a vascular component of the dementia profile was strongly related to increased depressive symptoms and disability but did not significantly impact cognitive functioning. The Mood and Motivation components of the depression profile were significantly related to the vascular index and disability index. The negative impact of depressive symptoms on the competence level in everyday activity was unaffected by the presence/absence of the vascular lesions. On the contrary, the influence of vascular component per se on disability did not reach significance when the level or the components of depression were taken as controlling factor. The negative impact of vascular symptoms on the level of competence might thus somehow be mediated by depressive symptoms

2002 - A study on the intertwined effect of cognitive impairment and depression on disability [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Neri, M; Neviani, F; Martini, E; Rubichi, S; Pradelli, J

A study on the intertwined effect of cognitive impairment and depression on disability. In NEUROBIOLOGY OF AGING - ISSN:0197-4580 vol. 23

2001 - Aspetti cognitivi e metacognitivi della terza età. [Capitolo/Saggio]
Rubichi, Sandro

Aspetti cognitivi e metacognitivi della terza età.

2001 - Shifting attention between objects [Articolo su rivista]
Iani, Cristina; R., Nicoletti; Rubichi, Sandro; C., Umilta

Experiment I used a modified spatial cueing paradigm that was introduced by Egly et al. [J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 123 (1994) 161] to investigate the cost incurred in shifting attention within an object as opposed to shifting attention between objects. Subjects were presented with two outline rectangles and had to detect a target (a luminance increment) that could appear in the cued location (valid trials), in an uncued Location inside the cued rectangle (inside-invalid trials), or in an uncued location inside the uncued rectangle (outside-invalid trials). Valid trials were faster than invalid trials, and inside-invalid trials were faster than outside-invalid trials. In Experiment 2, the two rectangles were joined to form a unitary object. Hen, no difference was found between outside-invalid trials and inside-invalid trials. Experiment 3 showed that the delayed response on outside-invalid trials in Experiment 1 was not due to attention needing to cross the figural borders in order to re-orient to the uncued rectangle. The results were interpreted as showing that an extra cost is incurred for shifting attention between different objects.

2001 - The validity of informant report for grading the severity of Alzheimer's dementia [Articolo su rivista]
Roth, M; Rubichi, Sandro; Devreese, Lp; Bolzani, R; Cipolli, C.; Neri, Mirco

The validity of informant-based techniques has been established for the detection of dementia cases by non-pathological individuals, but is still controversial for the assessment of the severity of dementia. This study aimed at ascertaining whether informant-based evaluation (the so-called informant report) of the cognitive and behavioral impairment of a patient is valid for grading the severity of dementia, and consistent with objective assessment of the patient's cognitive and behavioral functioning. We enrolled 96 community-dwelling outpatients and 56 controls assessed at the Geriatric Evaluation Unit of the University of Modena, Italy. All patients scored lower than 27 on the MMSE, and met DSM-IV inclusion criteria for Alzheimer's dementia. Patients and controls were administered the CAMDEX interview, containing a section which collects participant (patient or control) and informant evaluations on dementia-related cognitive and behavioral deficits. The informant report resulted effective at MANOVA for grading the severity of dementia in 4 of its 5 measures (namely, memory, everyday activities, general mental functioning and depressed mood), and was correlated with the scores of several scales of the CAMDEX cognitive section (i.e., CAMCOG). Instead, the participant's (patient or control) report showed a lower capacity for grading dementia, and was poorly correlated with the psychometric outcomes of cognitive functioning On the whole, the results corroborated the validity of the informant report in the diagnostic work-up for grading dementia, given its sensitivity to the severity of dementia, and its consistency with cognitive psychometric outcomes.

2001 - Una propaganda sempre più costosa e povera [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro

Una propaganda sempre più costosa e povera

2000 - Response strategies and the Simon effect [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti; C., Umilta; M., Zorzi

The study investigated whether the Simon effect, and its facilitation and interference components, shows up in reaction time (RT) or in movement time (MT), depending on the response strategy. Experiment 1 replicated a study by Hietanen and Rama. Subjects had to press one of two lateralised keys in response to one of two stimuli. The stimuli were presented in the center (neutral condition) or to the left or right side (corresponding or non-corresponding conditions). To press the response key, a reaching movement was necessary, and both RT and MT were recorded. One group of subjects showed an RT facilitation effect and an MT interference effect. Another group of subjects showed both MT facilitation and MT interference effects. It was hypothesized that the two groups used different response strategies. In Exps. 2 and 3, the subjects were explicitly instructed to use the two strategies that were hypothesized for Exp. 1. The results showed that whether facilitation and interference manifest themselves in RT or MT depends on the response strategy adopted by the subjects.

1999 - Age-related slowing of control processes: Evidence from a response coordination task [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, S.; Neri, M.; Nicoletti, R.

Normal aging is associated with slowing of performance mostly due to a slowed functioning of central response-related processes. In this paper we set out to discover whether slowing occurs also when the process controlling the coordination of responses is engaged by the task. To this end, we compared the mean-reaction time performance of two groups of subjects (young vs. elderly) in single- and dual-task experimental paradigm. The response coordination process is required only by the dual-task paradigm. The results indicate that, in the dual-task situation, the elderly are markedly slower than young subjects. The eventual relevance of information-processing speed in determining the cognitive performance of the elderly is considered in the discussion of the results.

1999 - Facilitation and interference components in the Simon effect [Articolo su rivista]
C., Umilta; Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti

Facilitation and interference components in the Simon effect

1998 - The validity of informant reports in assessing the severity of dementia: Evidence from the CAMDEX interview [Articolo su rivista]
Neri, M; Roth, M; De Vreese, Lp; Rubichi, S; Finelli, C; Bolzani, R; Cipolli, C

The evaluation of a patient's mental state, overall clinical profile and behavioural disturbance in the process of diagnosing dementia requires at least two sources of information: the patient and the informant. Since the severity of the dementia may interfere with the subjective perception of these disorders, it is important to evaluate the consistency between these two sources of information and the clinical and psychometric evaluation made by the physician. Accordingly, in this study five behavioural areas, derived from the semi-structured interview schedule provided by the Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly (CAMDEX, i.e., Sleep, Depressed Mood, Everyday Activity, Memory and Global Mental Functioning) have been tested on the patient and his/her informant. Eighty dementia patients (mean age = 74 years) and their informants participated in the study. The dementia group was subdivided into two levels of severity according to DSM-IIIR criteria: 41 with mild dementia and 39 with moderate dementia, respectively, matched for age and schooling. The rating of impairment was found to increase along with the severity of dementia in all the above-mentioned areas, except for sleep. However, the source of information pel se significantly influenced the evaluation of memory functioning. Moreover, the significant interaction between the two factors considered indicates that memory functioning is evaluated quite differently by the patients and the informants, as only in the assessment made by the latter group did the impairment increase in parallel with severity of dementia. Finally, whereas none of the subjective measures recorded in the patients were significantly correlated with their test scores, the correlations between the informant memory appraisals and patient test results proved to be significant. The present findings confirm the validity of informant reports in assessing cognitive and memory disorders in early-stage dementia, as well as in distinguishing patients with mild from those with moderate dementia.

1998 - Validation of the full and short forms of the CAMDEX interview for diagnosing dementia: Evidence from a one-year follow-up study [Articolo su rivista]
Neri, M.; Rubichi, S.; Devreese, L. P.; Roth, M.; Cipolli, C.

The sensitivity and specificity of the two forms of the CAMDEX interview for dementia diagnosis were assessed in a 1-year follow-up study. At the beginning of the study, 60 patients (22 males and 38 females) who met DSM-IV criteria for dementia and 60 matched controls (15 males and 45 females), were administered the short form of the CAMDEX (short CAMDEX) 3 months after the full one (full CAMDEX). At the follow-up, all patients were administered both the full and short CAMDEX (again with a 3-month interval), whereas controls were administered either CAMDEX form (in any case, at a 12-month interval from initial testing). Upon initial testing, the sensitivity of the full CAMCOG proved to be significantly higher than that of the short CAMCOG, while the opposite trend was observed for specificity, that is the sensitivity of the full Organicity was lower than that of the short Organicity, with specificity remaining equal in the two forms. Upon follow-up, the specificity and sensitivity levels of the two forms did not significantly differ for the CAMCOG and Organicity indices. Moreover, in detecting mildly demented patients, the full CAMCOG proved to be more accurate than the short one, while the opposite trend was observed for Organicity. Among the dementia subjects, significant correlations were found between the homologous indices of the two forms for both test sessions. On the whole, the short CAMDEX appears to maintain most of the psychometric properties of the full version and therefore the two CAMDEX forms can be considered to be interchangeable.

1997 - The Simon effect occurs relative to the direction of an attention shift [Articolo su rivista]
Rubichi, Sandro; R., Nicoletti; Iani, Cristina; C., Umilta

We investigated whether the Simon effect depends on the orienting of attention. In Experiment 1, participants were required to execute left-right discriminative responses to 2 patterns that were presented to the left or right of fixation. The 2 patterns were similar, and the discrimination was difficult. A letter at fixation signaled whether the current trial was a catch trial. The results showed a reversal of the Simon effect. That is, spatially noncorresponding responses were faster than spatially corresponding responses. In Experiment 2, the discrimination of the relevant stimulus attribute was easy. In Experiment 3, the discrimination of the relevant stimulus attribute was difficult, but the stimulus exposure time was long. In either experiment, the regular Simon effect was reinstated. In Experiment 4, the letter that signaled a catch trial appeared to the left or right of the imperative stimulus. The Simon effect occurred relative to the position of the letter.

1996 - Grammatical ambiguity resolution in right hemisphere-damaged patients: Evidence from an insertion task [Articolo su rivista]
Devreese, Lp; Neri, M; Rubichi, S; Salvioli, G

We examined the issue of right cerebral hemisphere (RH) participation in sentential syntax processing. A modified version of the Insertion Task of Schneiderman and Saddy (1988) was administered to eight right hemisphere brain-damaged (RHD), eight left hemisphere brain-damage (LHD) and 28 right-handed control (CTR) subjects: 28 word/syntagm insertions required role reassignment of a lexical item in the stimulus sentence (Shift); 25 insertions implied only semantic reinterpretation of the sentence (Nonshift). Age, formal education, cognitive proficiency, mood and verbal intelligence were introduced as covariates in the analysis of the outcomes to partial out their influence on performance. The LHD group outperformed the RHD patients on the Shift items, though both scored similarly on other language tasks. The RHD group performed significantly worse only on the Shift items. However, there were no differences between the RHD and CTR Nonshift scores, or between the LHD and CTR Shift scores. Again, the RHD group scored loafer than both the CTR and the LHD subjects on the Insertion Task as a whole. Results are discussed in relation to previous findings, and an associative model approach to sentence processing is proposed as an explanatory framework. The findings suggest that the RH may be crucial for parallel activation processes underlying resolution of grammatical ambiguity.

1996 - The influence of depression on memory and metamemory in the elderly [Articolo su rivista]
CIPOLLI, Carlo; NERI, Mirco; DE VREESE, Luc Pieter; PINELLI, Marina; RUBICHI, Sandro; LALLA, Michele

This study aimed to assess the relationships among depression level, memory and metamemory scores on a large sample of elderly subjects (139 men and 147 women). Preliminary examination showed that none of the sampled subjects had intellectual impairment (as assessed by means of the Mini-Mental State Examination) or neuropsychiatric symptoms. Each subject was administered the Randt Memory Test (RMT), the Sehulster Memory Scale (SMS) and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). A Multivariate Analysis of Covariance revealed a negative influence of depression on the two RMT measures (Acquisition-Recall: AR; Delayed Memory: DM) and on the three SMS measures (Set1: self-comparison; Set2: memory complaints; Set3: peer comparison), and of age on AR and DM, and Set1 and Set2. A Multivariate Regression Analysis showed that DM scores were positively correlated with Set2 in men and women, and with Set1 in women and Set3 in men, whereas AR scores related to Set2 and Set3 in men and Set1 in women. In addition, depression influenced negatively Set1, Set2 and AR scores in both men and women and DM scores only in men. On the whole, the results suggest that depression, memory and metamemory are rather closely related in non-severely depressed older individuals, albeit with slightly different patterns in men and women, and that some areas of metamemory are congruent with objective functioning regardless of the level of depressive symptoms.

1995 - Transient global amnesia: Memory and metamemory [Articolo su rivista]
Neri, M; Andermarcher, E; Devreese, Lp; Rubichi, S; Sacchet, C; Cipolli, C

Twenty patients (mean age 64 years) with a previous episode of transient global amnesia (TGA) were examined to assess the functioning of objective memory (by using the Randt Memory Test), the metamemory capacities (Sehulster Memory Scale), the residual level of retrograde amnesia (Questionnaire of Remote Events), and the level of depression (Geriatric Depression Scale). Patients with residual retrograde amnesia scored significantly lower than non-amnesic ones on indices of both short-term and long-term memory, and for one of three main metamemory components, namely self-rating of memory functioning through comparison with memory functioning of peers (Set 3). Age, time interval from TGA attack and TGA duration did not prove to influence memory and metamemory scores. Retrograde amnesia and depression were rather substantially associated (1/5), and this association was found to negatively influence nearly all memory and metamemory scores. Depression level showed a positive correlation with short-term memory functioning in non-amnesics. The different pattern and strength of the relationships between metamemory components and objective memory dimensions observed in amnesics and non-amnesics indicate that metamemory evaluations are more closely related to memory functioning in amnesics than in non-amnesics.

1994 - Validation of the full short-forms of the CAMDEX interview for diagnosing dementia [Articolo su rivista]
Neri, M; Roth, M; Mountjoy, Cq; Andermarcher, E; Rubichi, S; Spano, A; Salvioli, G; Cipolli, C

The present study compares the sensitivity and specificity of the short and full forms of the Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly (CAMDEX) interview in diagnosing dementia. We tested 73 subjects meeting DSM-IIIR criteria for dementia and 61 matched controls. The short version was applied 3 months after the full one to guarantee a relative stability of the tested functions. Referred to an independent clinical rating made at the beginning of the study, the levels of sensitivity and specificity were not significantly different in the two forms and fully comparable with those of the original full English version. Moreover, the scores on analogous sections of the two versions were highly correlated in the demented and control groups. These findings support the hypothesis that the short form of the CAMDEX maintains the psychometric properties of the full one, and consequently can be used in diagnostic routines for a variety of clinical and research purposes.