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Project Description

Even simple behaviours require the interaction between many different regions of the cerebral cortex. Each cortical region has input and output channels in different cortical layers: layers II and IV “listen” to the incoming information from other regions, while layers III and IV “speak” with other cortical regions.
To understand how behaviour emerges from brain activity, we need to know not only which brain regions are particularly busy during that behaviour, but also how they interact with each other, that is, who is speaking and who is listening.
Only in recent times ultra-high field (7T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) made it possible to acquire images which reflect brain activity in different layers of the cortex. Because of the very high spatial resolution of these images, with respect to conventional low-resolution MRI, the entire analytic strategy has to be re-though from scratch. However, this approach has the potential to deliver the first anatomically-informed neuroimaging instrument to examine directional brain connectivity.
In the present project, we expose participants to movies depicting either predictable or unpredictable actions, and we measure brain activity in the posterior parietal lobe, which is known to be involved in action prediction. We expect that predictable actions will elicit higher activity in output channels directed to the frontal lobe, while unpredictable movies will elicit higher activity in input channel from the frontal lobe and the occipito-temporal cortex.