30 YEARS Conference +
Ceremony for the Maria de Sousa Award 2024

Aula Magna da Universidade de Lisboa
October 9, 5 pm
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Grants for Scientific Research 2024/2025

Applications are open until August 31
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Prémio BIAL de Medicina Clínica 2024

Applications are open until August 31
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BIAL Foundation

For 30 years awarding and supporting those who seek to advance in science and knowledge in Portugal and around the world.
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Could the healthcare provider's nonverbal behaviour modulate pain reports and placebo effects?

The effects of the nonverbal behaviour of healthcare providers on pain reports and placebo effects may differ in healthy males and females.

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To what extent do the boundaries of our body seem to fade during focused-attention meditation?

An experimental study revealed that a 15-minute focused-attention meditation session blurred the boundary between the self and the environment.

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Is it possible to regulate the feeling of disgust by imaginary placebo pill intake?

A study compared the effects of a placebo pill and an imaginary pill in reducing visually induced disgust.

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News

BIAL Foundation brings António Damásio to Portugal for conference "On the Physiology of the Mind"

To mark its 30th anniversary, the BIAL Foundation is bringing António Damásio and Hanna Damásio to Portugal for a conference on October 9 in Lisbon.

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What are the effects of expectation on face perception and its relationship with expertise?

In the scope of the research project 129/20 - Investigating the role of expertise in the predictive coding framework combining time resolved neural and behavioural evidence, supported by the BIAL Foundation, Marie Smith and colleagues, through a behavioural categorization task in which 67 participants learned the probabilistic association between a colour cue and a high and low expertise category (faces and cars respectively), they assessed the individual level of expertise in each category. They found that the perception of the high expertise category (faces) was modulated by expectation. That is, there was a faster response when the faces were expected. Furthermore, in the analysis of neural activity (EEG), there were effects of expectation, with significant decoding of the neural response to expected stimuli. These results support the influence of expectation on face perception, highlight the role of expertise and draw attention to individual variability, which is often neglected. More information is available in the article Effects of expectation on face perception and its association with expertise published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.

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Is the ability to inhibit actions influenced by emotional stimuli?

The ability to inhibit ongoing motor actions is essential to avoid detrimental consequences. Effective inhibition depends mainly on the functioning of several areas, such as the pre-supplementary motor cortex (pre-SMA). The research team, led by Sara Borgomaneri, explored possible changes in the ability of 66 participants to inhibit actions upon facing emotionally negative or neutral human body postures, presented in a stop signal task, before and after the application of a session of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the pre-SMA, the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG) and the left primary motor cortex (lM1). They observed a shorter reaction time to emotionally negative stimuli after applying an inhibitory rTMS session to the pre-SMA. On the other hand, there was a shorter reaction time to neutral body postures after administration of rTMS over rIFG. No significant changes were observed after lM1 stimulation. These results support the existence of emotional effects on motor control systems and provide evidence that such effects may involve separate and distinct neural pathways from those associated with motor inhibition in neutral contexts. This study was developed within the scope of the research project 33/22 - The influence of emotions on actions: Boosting brain network plasticity to improve action control, supported by the BIAL Foundation, and published in the scientific journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, in article The role of pre-supplementary motor cortex in action control with emotional stimuli: A repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation study.

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