News

News

The Portuguese Medical Association and the BIAL Foundation deliver the 2nd edition of the Maria de Sousa Award

The award ceremony for the 2nd edition of the Maria de Sousa Award took place on November 14 at Teatro Thalia, in Lisbon, and was attended by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, who chaired the session, the Secretary of State for the Promotion of Health, Margarida Tavares, representing the Minister of Health, and the Secretary of State for Higher Education, Pedro Teixeira.

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Are imagination and overt action associated with the same brain mechanisms?

In the scope of the project 193/18 - The essential role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in motor imagery: A TMS interference study, Scott Glover et al. published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research the paper “TMS over dorsolateral prefrontal cortex affects the timing of motor imagery but not overt action: Further support for the motor-cognitive model”.

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Can brain functioning mechanisms be affected by perceived stress?

Pedro Morgado, supported by the Bial Foundation in the scope of the project 206/16 – Developing a neurofunctional intervention for emotion regulation under stress demonstrated that higher levels of perceived stress are directly associated with an increase in connectivity between the amygdala and regions of the frontal cortex, which is driven by a reduction in the pattern of activity between the amygdala and the hippocampus that evolves in opposite directions compared to other brain areas.

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Maria de Sousa Award Ceremony: 2nd edition – 2022

The winners of Maria de Sousa Award: 2nd edition - 2022 will be announced in the Award ceremony that will take place on November 14, 2022, 6 p.m. in Lisbon, and will be held in a hybrid format, so everyone can watch online. The event will be chaired by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education.

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Do moral dilemmas have different neuronal responses across the life span?

In the scope of the project The Aging Social Brain – Neural and behavioral age-related changes in social cognition and decision-making, João Marques-Teixeira et al. published in the journal Neuroscience Letters the paper “Awareness to utilitarian responses in later life: An ERP study with moral dilemmas”.

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Can meditation influence the way we perceive time and space?

Marc Wittman, supported by the BIAL Foundation in the scope of project 50/16 – Changes in the temporal width of the present moment after meditation demonstrated that experienced meditators perceived their body boundaries as less salient during meditation than while reading the story. Morever, they also felt time passed more quickly and they paid less attention to time during meditation. The paper “Changes in subjective time and self during meditation” featuring these results was published in the journal Biology.

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Can decision making during recognition modulate alpha rhythm?

Carlo Sestieri, supported by the BIAL Foundation in the scope of project 159/16 – Unraveling the neural mechanisms of human memory decisions with magnetoencephalography, demonstrated, through MEG, the parietal lobe involvement in episodic memory, more specifically, event-related desynchornization (ERD) of alpha band could represent the neuronal signature of the accumulation process during a simple memor-based decision task. The paper “Alpha rhythm modulations in the intraparietal sulcus reflect decision signals during item recognition” featuring these results was published in the journal NeuroImage.

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Does transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation modulate behavior?

Ruben Azevedo, supported by the BIAL Foundation in the scope of project 88/16 – The interoceptive self: Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation as a new tool to investigate heart-brain interactions demonstrated that the transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve could be an effective neuromodulatory technique to modulate cognitive processes and pupil size. The paper “Event-related transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation modulates behaviour” featuring these results was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology

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Luís Portela featured in the Journal of Scientific Exploration

Interview with Luís Portela regarding the launch of his book “The Science of Spirit” in the United States and the scarce international funding attributed to research in the area of parapsychology, considered a “frontier science”.

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How brain circuits that support decision-making are altered by aging?

João Marques-Teixeira, supported by the BIAL Foundation in the scope of project 249/16 – Healthy aging and economic decision-making: Neuropsychophysiological examination of the affect-integration-motivation framework of decision-making in aging brain, demonstrated, through EEG, that with aging, there seems to be a change in affective processes and a preservation of integration and motivation processes.

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Prémio BIAL de Medicina Clínica: applications until August 31

The 20th edition of the Prémio BIAL de Medicina Clínica, promoted by the BIAL Foundation, with the amount of €100,000, seeks to recognize an intellectual, original work on any freely chosen medical topic on clinical practice. Only work with results of high quality and relevance will be considered. The winning work will also be published as a book.

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Grants for Scientific Research: applications until August 31

BIAL Foundation opens a new call of its Grants Programme for Scientific Research 2022/2023 in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology...

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Science Stories

 

It is our mission being accomplished. Since 1994, the BIAL Foundation has supported 775 projects, involving more than 1600 researchers from 29 countries. There are almost three decades of financial support to Scientific Research Projects oriented towards the neurophysiological and mental study of the human being, in the areas of Psychophysiology and Parapsychology.

Discover the stories behind the science.

Science Stories

Can IQ and socioeconomic status interfere with children's reading fluency?

Researchers found out that Intelligence Quotient (IQ) plays no role with reading fluency deficits in children, unlike socioeconomic status.

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Do rats recognize musical melodies like humans?

Study reveals that rats showed sensitivity to track harmonic and temporal patterns in music and such sensitivities might be shared across species.

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Evening people show enhanced fear acquisition, which may increase the risk to develop anxiety

Researchers resorted to the classic Pavlovian paradigm of fear conditioning to study the association between chronotype and fear responses in healthy humans.

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Newborn hearing analysis can predict neurophysiological development at 12 months

Study shows an association between auditory processing and developmental outcomes in infants, crucial for the early detection of neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Do expectant fathers and mothers experience pregnancy differently?

A study has shown that there are neural and psychological differences between men and women during pregnancy.

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Can we self-regulate our brain through training?

A study of neurofeedback reveals that the behavioural effects seem to be the same whether real or sham feedback is given.

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Can highly superior autobiographic memory enhance creativity?

Constructive episodic processes relevant to creative thinking are not enhanced in individuals with highly superior autobiographical memory performance.

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Do women show greater engagement for multitasking?

A study involving 167 UK participants showed that women believed to be consistently stronger on multitasking than men.

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Does age change the dream recall?

Study reveals that there are no relevant differences between dream recall in young adults and in the elderly.

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Academic studies on claimed past-life memories

Did you know that most studies on claimed past-life memories were carried out mainly in Asian countries?

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Empathy in couples

Understanding the adaptative functioning of couples is something crucial considering the harmful consequences of situations of domestic violence.

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Choosing the usual or taking a chance?

We always choose the same route back home, but one day, alerted about traffic restrictions, we decide to risk an alternative route. What drives us to make this decision?

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Looking for collaboration

The quest of physiological markers for the experience of pain

Researcher: Elia Valentini - Department of Psychology & Centre for Brain Science, University of Essex Summary: The aim of this project is to improve measurement of the human experience of pain by investigating a combination of psychophysical and physiological responses during mild noxious stimulation. More specifically, we want to investigate how sensitive and specific to pain the brain oscillatory responses are. We use EEG as the main technique, but we are keen to collaborate with neuroscientists using fMRI, autonomic measures and brain stimulation as well as with computational neuroscientists. A clinical collaborator would also be very much welcome.

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EEG investigation of hypnosis and decision-making

Researcher: Rinaldo Livio Perri - University Niccolò Cusano Rome, Italy Summary: I work in the field of hypnosis and cognitive neuroscience. In particular, I adopt the event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate the effect of the hypnotic suggestions on sensory processing and cognitive performance. I am an expert in decision-making and proactive brain processes before the stimulus administration (e.g., the perceptual, prefrontal and premotor readiness during the expectancy stage). I could help colleagues to properly analyze the ERP signal in the pre-stimulus stage of processing. Also, I would be happy to share my EEG data for re-analyzing them in the frequency domain (e.g., wavelet or coherence analysis in the hypnosis research). Feel free to contact me for any question! More information on my papers: https://scholar.google.it/citations?user=-8e_V64AAAAJ&hl=it Possible collaborations: neuroscientist with experience in the EEG frequency analysis Email: perri.rinaldo@gmail.com

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Transparent Psi Project - looking for collaborators

Summary: We are running a fully transparent, expert consensus-base multilab replication of Bem’s (2011) experiment 1. The project features state of the art methods to maximize transparency and study integrity. The study involves a computerized experiment taking about 20 minutes per session. Group testing is possible in a computer lab, no specialized equipment needed. Labs are expected to recruit at least 100 participants. Participants will be exposed to images with explicit erotic/sexual content in the experiment. No financial compensation is required for the participants. Data collection is expected to take place in the 2020 fall semester. Every material is provided for ethics/IRB submissions and data collection in English (translation of materials might be necessary by the collaborators). The study is pre-registered and the manuscript is accepted in principle for publication in the journal Royal Society Open Science. All collaborators who meet the minimum sample size criterion will get authorship on this paper reporting the results of the replication study. More information in the preprint: https://psyarxiv.com/uwk7y/ Indicate interest in the collaboration via the following form: https://tinyurl.com/tpp-labs With any question contact the lead investigator: Dr. Zoltan Kekecs, kekecs.zoltan@gmail.com

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Cognitive control and learning

Researcher: Ignacio Obeso, Ph.D. / CINAC - HM Puerta del Sur Summary: The aim of our projects is to understand the behavioral and neural mechanisms used to learn how humans establish adaptive behaviour in changing contexts. More specifically, we want to decipher how stopping abilities are initially learned and later executed under automatic control. We use task-related fMRI, brain stimulation and clinical models to test our predictions in laboratory settings as well as online home-based paradigms. Possible collaborations: computational scientist Email contact: i.obesomartin@gmail.com https://iobesomartin.wixsite.com/cognitivecontrol

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