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Symmetry Webinar | Symmetry and Asymmetry in Brain Behavior and Perception

13 Jun 2022, 10:00 (CEST)

Brain Hemispheres, Animal and Human Brain, Lateralized Functions, Lateralized Perception
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Welcome from the Chair

6th Symmetry Webinar

Symmetry and Asymmetry in Brain Behavior and Perception

All vertebrates are apparently symmetrical in their anatomical external structure. Many internal organs also display apparent symmetrical organization, especially in the brain. This leads us to also expect symmetry in brain functions, such as in behavior and perception. However, upon closer inspection, such symmetry is only superficial. The most relevant example of this is the hand/limb preference, which has been documented in many animals other than humans. Is this asymmetry due to internal conditions or is it determined by external factors? Does this asymmetry in turn provoke other side differences in perception and behavior?

In this webinar “Symmetry and Asymmetry in Brain Behavior and Perception”, we will analyze symmetry and asymmetry in animals’ and humans’ behavior and perception. Since these functions are strictly related to each other, being the result of an internal drive and a sensory modulation, it is important to try to elucidate which comes first, i.e., if asymmetrical behavior can be generated by asymmetrical perception, and how; or vice versa, if asymmetrical perception follows asymmetrical behavior.

Date: 13 June 2022

Time: 10:00 am CEST | 4:00 am EDT | 4:00 pm CST Asia

Webinar ID: 854 2800 4495

Webinar Secretariat:


Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University (Università Politecnica delle Marche), Ancona, Italy

This contribution reconsiders behavioral and functional data from studies investigating the imitative behavior, with particular attention to anatomical imitation, and the related mental rotation ability. The studies have been carried out by our group in healthy subjects, with intact interhemispheric connections, and in split-brain patients, completely or partially lacking callosal connections. The results strongly indicate that both anatomical imitation and mental rotation ability require interhemispheric communication, mainly occurring through the corpus callosum, which is the largest white matter structure in the human brain. It can be therefore concluded that the neural circuits supporting these two behavioral performances are asymmetrically distributed in the human brain.
Author of 221 contributions, 98 of them on international journals, on the following research themes: (1) Anatomical and physiological organization of associative and callosal connections between areas SI and SII, studied by neuroanatomical, electrophysiological and functional techniques; (2) Identification of projecting neurons neurotransmitters of Mammals cerebral cortex, by neuroanatomical and immunohistochemical double labeling technique; (3) Study of somatosensory areas of human cerebral cortex by fMRI; (4) Study of human corpus callosum topography with imaging techniques; (5) Cortical representation of gustatory sensitivity in man studied by fMRI; (6) Study of imitative behavior in man, with neuropsychological and imaging techniques; (7) Study of cell and fibre composition of the human corpus callosum by immunohistochemistry.

Invited Speaker

Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Eilat Campus, Eilat, Israel

We compared digit ratio and digit asymmetry to reflect brain laterality, and to compare the differential stress level of populations. We used tail injury to reflect stress at the population level. The lizards studied are Tarentola annularis, a climbing gecko with a wide distribution in Africa north of the equator, and considered as an invasive species in Israel. Most of the specimens evaluated were collected from Ein Gedi, Israel. We examined the length and condition of the tail, its size after autotomy (In the event of autotomy), the symmetry between the eyes, SVL, digit ratio (2D: 4D, and Rel.2), and the number of stripes on the tail.
Most of the research work of Prof. Yosef was connected with grassland ecology and conservation as reflected by shrikes. Additionally, he has authored the species account for the Loggerhead Shrike in the Birds of North America series, and the True Shrike (Laniidae) family account for the Handbook of the Birds of the World. He continues to publish the renewed and updated electronic version of the Birds of the World, hosted by Cornell University. He co-authored the chapter on monitoring of migration in Raptor Research & Management Techniques (2007). He has published almost 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts, contributed chapters to several books, and co-authored five books. Prof. Yosef is involved in many research and conservation projects in many countries across the globe—in India, South Africa, Nigeria, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Mongolia, Czech Republic, Jamaica, Peru and Honduras are some of the projects. In the past decade, Prof. Yosef has conducted Environment Impact Studies (EIS) in Mongolia (w/Mongolian Ornithological Society), India (w/ELA Foundation, Indian Forest Service), Israel (Eilat Municipality, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Health, Israel Electric Company, Nature Reserves & Parks Authority, and Israel Airport Authorities) and Jamaica (Morgan Stanley International Airport). At present, he is involved in environmental education in Israeli high schools and very active in the Ministry of Education. He is at present working on a range of projects in India (Leopards in Jaipur; tigers and avian habitat conservation in Maharashtra), Greece (Lesser Kestrel), Cyprus (Cyprus Scops Owl, House Martins), and Israel (Red sea Ghost Crabs, Nubian Ibex, Common Swifts, Environmental Education). He continues to be very active academically and publishes regularly in peer-reviewed, high-quality scientific journals.

CIMeC - Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy

Elisa Frasnelli is a physicist by training and an emergent cognitive neuroscientist by research. She is interested in the study of animal behaviour and cognition from a comparative, mechanistic and evolutionary perspective with a specific focus on brain and behavioural asymmetries. After her PhD in Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Italy, she worked at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Austria, at the University of Exeter in the UK and in Japan. In 2017, Elisa became Lecturer at the School of Life Sciences of the University of Lincoln, UK, and since November 2021 she is Assistant professor at the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences of the University of Trento in Italy.

Webinar Content

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Time in CEST

Prof. Dr. Mara Fabri

Chair Introduction

10:00 - 10:10 am

Prof. Dr. Reuven Yosef

Digit Ratio and Digit Asymmetry Reflect Brain Laterality

10:10 - 10:30 am

Prof. Dr. Mara Fabri

Asymmetrical Distribution in the Human Brain of Neural Circuits Underpinning the Imitative Behavior and Mental Rotation Ability

10:30 - 10:50 am

Dr. Elisa Frasnelli

The Evolution of Laterality: Brain and Behavioural Asymmetries in Bees

10:50 - 11:10 am

Q&A Session

11:10 - 11:25 am

Closing of Webinar
Prof. Dr. Mara Fabri

11:25 - 11:30 am

Relevant SI

Biology and Symmetry/Asymmetry - A section of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994)

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