Body-brain interactions

We are interested in unravelling the functional mechanisms underlying the bidirectional and continuous interactions between physiological rhythms of the body and the brain. In particular, we aim to provide a dynamic perspective on how breathing and cardiac signals interface with neural rhythms to modulate human behavior across multiple domains, from information processing to perception and action. This holistic approach to the study of brain functions promises to improve our understanding of how individuals efficiently act in and adapt to a dynamically changing environment, from neurotypical to pathological populations.

Senior Researchers:

Michael Schwartze, Katerina Kandylaki

PhD Researchers

Antonio Criscuolo and Anna Czepiel

Project I: Body-brain influence on cognition

This project line explores the functional relevance of body-brain physiological interactions in human behavior. Thus, a series of studies investigate the functional mechanisms by which body signals (e.g., respiratory and cardiac rhythms) interact with and modulate neurocognitive functions from rest and sleep states to action and perception. This project further aims at elucidating whether body-brain rhythms may inform individual fingerprinting: are individuals’ timing capacities (e.g., rhythm perception and production), and general behavior (e.g., individual walking and speaking rates) influenced / shaped by body-brain interactions?

Project II: Body-brain influence on aesthetic experience of music

This project line investigates the neural, physiological, and aesthetic responses during naturalistic music listening (e.g., live concerts). Hence, we exploit measures of inter-subject synchrony and entrainment of EEG and physiology (heart, respiration, skin conductance, and EMG) to explore the aesthetic experience of Classical and contemporary music. The project further examines the neural and behavioral mechanisms in expressive and emotional performances.