Special Issue "Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion"

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994). This special issue belongs to the section "Biology and Symmetry/Asymmetry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 8225

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Pecchinenda Anna
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy
Interests: functional brain asymmetry; attention; memory; learning; face processing; decision making; cognitive control; language

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cognition and emotion rely on a rich network of brain structures, traditionally mapped to the differential contribution of the right and left hemispheres for a variety of functions such as attention, learning, memory, social behaviour, face processing, and decision making. More recently, emphasis has also been placed on the contribution of top-down and bottom-up processes in cognition and emotion.

Research reports on brain-behaviour asymmetries in top-down and bottom-up processes in cognition and emotion will be well accepted for this Special Issue of Symmetry. Furthermore, papers including electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and biochemical estimations of brain asymmetry will be particularly relevant. Reports on brain-behaviour asymmetries in clinical populations are also accepted, and so will reviews and theoretical debates of the asymmetric brain contribution to cognition and emotion. 

Prof. Pecchinenda Anna
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • functional brain asymmetry
  • attention
  • memory
  • learning
  • face processing
  • decision making
  • cognitive control
  • language

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Fronto—Parietal Regions Predict Transient Emotional States in Emotion Modulated Response Inhibition via Low Frequency and Beta Oscillations
Symmetry 2022, 14(6), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym14061244 - 15 Jun 2022
Viewed by 355
Abstract
The current study evaluated the impact of task-relevant emotion on inhibitory control while focusing on midline cortical regions rather than brain asymmetry. Single-trial time-frequency analysis of electroencephalography recordings linked with response execution and response inhibition was done while thirty-four participants performed the emotion [...] Read more.
The current study evaluated the impact of task-relevant emotion on inhibitory control while focusing on midline cortical regions rather than brain asymmetry. Single-trial time-frequency analysis of electroencephalography recordings linked with response execution and response inhibition was done while thirty-four participants performed the emotion modulated stop-signal task. To evaluate individual differences across decision-making processes involved in inhibitory control, a hierarchical drift-diffusion model was used to fit data from Go-trials for each of the 34 participants. Response threshold in the early processing stage for happy and disgust emotions could be distinguished from the later processing stage at the mid-parietal and mid-frontal regions, respectively, by the single-trial power increments in low frequency (delta and theta) bands. Beta desynchronization in the mid-frontal region was specific for differentiating disgust from neutral emotion in the early as well as later processing stages. The findings are interpreted based on the influence of emotional stimuli on early perceptual processing originating as a bottom-up process in the mid-parietal region and later proceeding to the mid-frontal region responsible for cognitive control processing, which resulted in enhanced inhibitory performance. The results show the importance of mid-frontal and mid-parietal regions in single-trial dynamics of inhibitory control processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Article
Asymmetric Prefrontal Cortex Activation Associated with Mutual Gaze of Mothers and Children during Shared Play
Symmetry 2022, 14(5), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym14050998 - 13 May 2022
Viewed by 522
Abstract
Mother–child shared play provides rich opportunities for mutual symmetrical interactions that serve to foster bond formation in dyads. Mutual gaze, a symmetrical behaviour that occurs during direct eye contact between two partners, conveys important cues of social engagement, affect and attention. However, it [...] Read more.
Mother–child shared play provides rich opportunities for mutual symmetrical interactions that serve to foster bond formation in dyads. Mutual gaze, a symmetrical behaviour that occurs during direct eye contact between two partners, conveys important cues of social engagement, affect and attention. However, it is not known whether the prefrontal cortical areas responsible for higher-order social cognition of mothers and children likewise exhibit neural symmetry; that is, similarity in direction of neural activation in mothers and children. This study used functional Near-infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) hyperscanning on 22 pairs of mothers and their preschool-aged children as they engaged in a 10-min free-play session together. The play interaction was video recorded and instances of mutual gaze were coded for after the experiment. Multivariate linear regression analyses revealed that neural asymmetry occurred during mother–child mutual gaze, where mothers showed a deactivation of prefrontal activity whereas children showed an activation instead. Findings suggest that mothers and children may employ divergent prefrontal mechanisms when engaged in symmetrical behaviours such as mutual gaze. Future studies could ascertain whether the asymmetric nature of a parent–child relationship, or potential neurodevelopmental differences in social processing between adults and children, significantly contribute to this observation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Article
Perspective Slant Makes Symmetry Harder to Detect and Less Aesthetically Appealing
Symmetry 2022, 14(3), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym14030475 - 26 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 436
Abstract
Abstract symmetric patterns are generally preferred to less regular patterns. Here, we studied 2D patterns presented as 2D images in the plane, and therefore producing a symmetric pattern on the retina, and the same patterns seen in perspective. This perspective transformation eliminates the [...] Read more.
Abstract symmetric patterns are generally preferred to less regular patterns. Here, we studied 2D patterns presented as 2D images in the plane, and therefore producing a symmetric pattern on the retina, and the same patterns seen in perspective. This perspective transformation eliminates the presence of perfect symmetry in terms of retinotopic coordinates. Stimuli were abstract patterns of local coplanar elements, or irregular polygons. In both cases they can be understood as 2D patterns on a transparent glass pane. In the first study we found that perspective increased reaction time and errors in a classification task, even when the viewing angle was kept constant over many images. In a second study we tested a large sample (148 participants) and asked for a rating of beauty for the same images. In addition, we used the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) to test the hypothesis that people who tend to give the more immediate and intuitive answer would also show a stronger preference for the symmetry presented in the frontoparallel plane (in the image and on the retina). Preference for symmetry was confirmed, and there was a cost for perspective viewing. CRT scores were not related to preference, thus not supporting the hypothesis of a stronger preference for symmetry in the image when people follow a more immediate and intuitive gut response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Article
Symmetry in Emotional and Visual Similarity between Neutral and Negative Faces
Symmetry 2021, 13(11), 2091; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13112091 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 471
Abstract
Is Mr. Hyde more similar to his alter ego Dr. Jekyll, because of their physical identity, or to Jack the Ripper, because both evoke fear and loathing? The relative weight of emotional and visual dimensions in similarity judgements is still unclear. We expected [...] Read more.
Is Mr. Hyde more similar to his alter ego Dr. Jekyll, because of their physical identity, or to Jack the Ripper, because both evoke fear and loathing? The relative weight of emotional and visual dimensions in similarity judgements is still unclear. We expected an asymmetric effect of these dimensions on similarity perception, such that faces that express the same or similar feeling are judged as more similar than different emotional expressions of same person. We selected 10 male faces with different expressions. Each face posed one neutral expression and one emotional expression (five disgust, five fear). We paired these expressions, resulting in 190 pairs, varying either in emotional expressions, physical identity, or both. Twenty healthy participants rated the similarity of paired faces on a 7-point scale. We report a symmetric effect of emotional expression and identity on similarity judgements, suggesting that people may perceive Mr. Hyde to be just as similar to Dr. Jekyll (identity) as to Jack the Ripper (emotion). We also observed that emotional mismatch decreased perceived similarity, suggesting that emotions play a prominent role in similarity judgements. From an evolutionary perspective, poor discrimination between emotional stimuli might endanger the individual. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Article
Attention to a Moment in Time Impairs Episodic Distinctiveness during Rapid Serial Visual Presentation
Symmetry 2021, 13(10), 1938; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13101938 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 373
Abstract
Human attention is limited in the ability to select and segregate relevant distinct events from the continuous flow of external information while concurrently encoding their temporal succession. While it is well-known that orienting attention to one external target stimulus impairs the encoding of [...] Read more.
Human attention is limited in the ability to select and segregate relevant distinct events from the continuous flow of external information while concurrently encoding their temporal succession. While it is well-known that orienting attention to one external target stimulus impairs the encoding of ensuing relevant external events, it is still unknown whether orienting attention to internally generated events can interfere with concurrent processing of external input. We addressed this issue by asking participants to identify a single target embedded among distractors in a non-spatial rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) stream and to indicate whether that target appeared before or after an internally estimated midpoint of the stream. The results indicate that (a) such an internally generated temporal benchmark does not interfere with the identification of a subsequent physical target stimulus but (b) the two events cannot be accurately segregated when the physical target immediately follows the internally generated temporal event. These findings indicate that the asymmetrical distribution around the midpoint of order reversals reflects an impaired temporal discrimination ability. Orienting attention to a moment in time reduces episodic distinctiveness as much as orienting attention to external events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Article
Asymmetrical Property of the Subproportionality of Weighting Function in Prospect Theory: Is It Real and How Can It Be Achieved?
Symmetry 2021, 13(10), 1928; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13101928 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 622
Abstract
An asymmetrical property of the probability weighting function, namely, subproportionality, was derived from observations. Subproportionality can provide a reasonable explanation for accommodating the Allais paradox and, therefore, deserves replication for its high impact. The present study aimed to explore the mechanism of subproportionality [...] Read more.
An asymmetrical property of the probability weighting function, namely, subproportionality, was derived from observations. Subproportionality can provide a reasonable explanation for accommodating the Allais paradox and, therefore, deserves replication for its high impact. The present study aimed to explore the mechanism of subproportionality by comparing the two completely opposite decision mechanisms: prospect theory and equate-to-differentiate theory. Results revealed that the underlying mechanism supports the prediction of equate-to-differentiate theory but not prospect theory in the diagnostic stimuli condition. Knowledge regarding which intra-dimensional difference between Options A and B is greater, not knowledge regarding which option’s overall prospect value is greater, indeed predicts option preference. Our findings may deepen current understanding on the mechanisms behind the simple risky choice with a single-non-zero outcome. Additionally, these findings will hopefully encourage subsequent researchers to take a fresh look at the Allais paradox. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Article
Is Face Age Mapped Asymmetrically onto Space? Insights from a SNARC-like Task
Symmetry 2021, 13(9), 1617; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13091617 - 03 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
The magnitude associated with a stimulus can be spatially connoted, with relatively smaller and larger magnitudes that would be represented on the left and on the right side of space, respectively. According to recent evidence, this space–magnitude association could reflect specific brain asymmetries. [...] Read more.
The magnitude associated with a stimulus can be spatially connoted, with relatively smaller and larger magnitudes that would be represented on the left and on the right side of space, respectively. According to recent evidence, this space–magnitude association could reflect specific brain asymmetries. In this study, we explored whether such an association can also emerge for face age, assuming that responders should represent relatively younger and older adult faces on the left and on the right, respectively. A sample of young adults performed a speeded binary classification task aimed at categorising the age of a centrally placed adult face stimulus as either younger or older than the age of a reference face. A left-side and a right-side response key were used to collect manual responses. Overall, older faces were categorised faster than younger faces, and response latencies decreased with the absolute difference between the age of the target stimulus and the age of the reference, in line with a distance effect. However, no evidence of a left-to-right spatial representation of face age emerged. Taken together, these results suggest that face age is mapped onto space differently from other magnitudes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Article
Contributions of the Right Prefrontal and Parietal Cortices to the Attentional Blink: A tDCS Study
Symmetry 2021, 13(7), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13071208 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1137
Abstract
The AB refers to the performance impairment that occurs when visual selective attention is overloaded through the very rapid succession of two targets (T1 and T2) among distractors by using the rapid serial visual presentation task (RSVP). Under these conditions, performance is typically [...] Read more.
The AB refers to the performance impairment that occurs when visual selective attention is overloaded through the very rapid succession of two targets (T1 and T2) among distractors by using the rapid serial visual presentation task (RSVP). Under these conditions, performance is typically impaired when T2 is presented within 200–500 ms from T1 (AB). Based on neuroimaging studies suggesting a role of top-down attention and working memory brain hubs in the AB, here we potentiated via anodal or sham tDCS the activity of the right DLPFC (F4) and of the right PPC (P4) during an AB task. The findings showed that anodal tDCS over the F4 and over P4 had similar effects on the AB. Importantly, potentiating the activity of the right frontoparietal network via anodal tDCS only benefitted poor performers, reducing the AB, whereas in good performers it accentuated the AB. The contribution of the present findings is twofold: it shows both top-down and bottom-up contributions of the right frontoparietal network in the AB, and it indicates that there is an optimal level of excitability of this network, resulting from the individual level of activation and the intensity of current stimulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Review

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Review
Are We Right about the Right TPJ? A Review of Brain Stimulation and Social Cognition in the Right Temporal Parietal Junction
Symmetry 2021, 13(11), 2219; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13112219 - 20 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1065
Abstract
In the past decade, the functional role of the TPJ (Temporal Parietal Junction) has become more evident in terms of its contribution to social cognition. Studies have revealed the TPJ as a ‘distinguisher’ of self and other with research focused on non-clinical populations [...] Read more.
In the past decade, the functional role of the TPJ (Temporal Parietal Junction) has become more evident in terms of its contribution to social cognition. Studies have revealed the TPJ as a ‘distinguisher’ of self and other with research focused on non-clinical populations as well as in individuals with Autism and Type I Schizophrenia. Further research has focused on the integration of self-other distinctions with proprioception. Much of what we now know about the causal role of the right TPJ derives from TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), rTMS repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), and tDCS (transcranial Direct Cortical Stimulation). In this review, we focus on the role of the right TPJ as a moderator of self, which is integrated and distinct from ‘other’ and how brain stimulation has established the causal relationship between the underlying cortex and agency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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Review
A Systematic Review on the Interaction between Emotion and Pseudoneglect
Symmetry 2021, 13(8), 1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym13081531 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 834
Abstract
Background: A large body of research has shown brain asymmetries in spatial attention. Specifically, there is an attention-processing advantage for the left visual field in healthy, right-handed subjects, known as “pseudoneglect.” Several studies have revealed that emotions modulate this basic spatial phenomenon, [...] Read more.
Background: A large body of research has shown brain asymmetries in spatial attention. Specifically, there is an attention-processing advantage for the left visual field in healthy, right-handed subjects, known as “pseudoneglect.” Several studies have revealed that emotions modulate this basic spatial phenomenon, but the direction of the effect is still unclear. Here we systematically review empirical evidence on the behavioral effects of emotion on pseudoneglect. Methods: We searched through Pubmed, Scopus, PsycINFO, and PsychArticles. Original peer-reviewed articles published until February 2021 were included if they (1) were written in English; (2) were conducted on adults; (3) included at least one task to measure pseudoneglect, and (4) included at least one task with emotional stimuli or employed a measure of emotional state/trait, as they relate to pseudoneglect. Results: Fifteen studies were included, and 784 healthy participants took part in all studies reviewed. Discussion: The results show some evidence of emotion modulation of pseudoneglect, but evidence on the direction of the effect is mixed. We discuss the role of methodological factors that could account for the available findings and the implications for emotion asymmetry hypotheses such as the right-hemisphere hypothesis, the valence-specific hypothesis, as well as neural and arousal frameworks of attention–emotion interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symmetry in Cognition and Emotion)
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