Singer Emeritus Group

Dr. Lucia Melloni
Senior Scientist
New York State Psychiatric Institute
1051 Riverside Drive
Unit 21 Division of Experimental Therapeutics
New York, NY 10032, USA

Research interests
Our brain is a plastic organ that can be changed by experience. It then appears true that ëpractice makes it betterí. However, what are the limitations? Can we expand our capacities in all directions? Can we for instance learn to become conscious? Which are the factors that control this plasticity, and how does it affect brain functioning? In my group we investigate whether our conscious capacity can be trained, at short as well as at long time scales, and how different forms of training - either task specific (i.e., perceptual learning) or unspecific (i.e., meditation) - modify our conscious capacity and what their limitations are. We also investigate the effects of previous experience, i.e., how our recent past alters our capacity to see, as well as its neural underpinnings. The main question that we aim to tackle is to understand how our subjective experience is instantiated in the brain, i.e, how the functioning of millions of neurons gives rise to the taste of a good glass of wine. We hypothesize that the orchestrated and synchronous activity in distinct brain areas is what endow us with this marvelous capacity.

Key publications
Moca VV, Tincas I, Melloni L, Muresan RC. Visual exploration and object recognition by lattice deformation. PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22831. Epub 2011 Jul 27.
Schwiedrzik CM, Singer W, Melloni L. Subjective and objective learning effects dissociate in space and in time. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 15;108(11):4506-11.
Melloni L, Schwiedrzik CM, M¸ller N, Rodriguez E, Singer W.  Expectations change the signatures and timing of electrophysiological correlates of perceptual awareness. J Neurosci. 2011 Jan 26;31(4):1386-96.
Melloni, L. and W. Singer: Distinct characteristics of conscious experience are met by large-scale neuronal synchronization. In: E. Perry, D. Collerton, F. LeBeau and H. Ashton (Eds.). New Horizons in the Neuroscience of Consciousness. Advances in Consciousness Research 79. John Benjamins, B.V., Amsterdam 2010, 17-28.
Melloni L, Schwiedrzik CM, Rodriguez E, Singer W. (Micro)Saccades, corollary activity and cortical oscillations. Trends Cogn Sci. 2009 Jun;13(6):239-45.
Melloni L, Molina C, Pena M, Torres D, Singer W, Rodriguez E. Synchronization of neural activity across cortical areas correlates with conscious perception. J Neurosci. 2007 Mar 14;27(11):2858-65.