Dario Grossi

Professor of Neuropsychology

Name Dario
Surname Grossi
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
E-Mail dario.grossi@unicampania.it
Address Villa Camaldoli Foundation Clinic, Naples, Italy; Department of Psychology, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Napoli, Italy
Dario Grossi


  • A clinical study on closing-in in focal brain-damaged individuals.

    Publication Date: 15/04/2016 on Journal of the neurological sciences
    by De Lucia N, Grossi D, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jns.2016.02.059

    In visuo-constructional assessment, brain-damaged individuals may copy figures near to or superimposed on the model, showing the Closing-in (CI). CI has been largely investigated in dementia, and often ascribed to impairments of the attention/executive abilities ("Attraction hypothesis"). Only a few dated studies investigated frequency of CI in brain-damaged individuals, without clarifying the genesis of the phenomenon. We aimed at testing the "Attraction hypothesis" in 27 individuals with focal frontal cortical or sub-cortical brain lesions by a dual-task experimental paradigm. The participants underwent a neuropsychological battery and a copying task to be performed alone (single task condition), or concurrently with a simple or a complex verbal secondary task (dual-task conditions). CI was found in 66% of frontal-damaged individuals, who scored significantly lower than healthy adults on all neuropsychological measures; brain-damaged individuals showing CI performed worse than frontal-damaged individuals without CI on frontal and visuo-constructional measures. In the dual-task condition with the complex secondary task CI was significantly enhanced, with a weaker tendency to self-correction, in individuals with CI compared to individuals without CI. These findings would confirm that the CI in brain-damaged individuals is related to reduction of attentional resources, consistently with the "Attraction hypothesis".

  • The Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination Revised (ACE-R) and its sub-scores: normative values in an Italian population sample.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2016 on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Siciliano M, Raimo S, Tufano D, Basile G, Grossi D, Santangelo F, Trojano L, Santangelo G
    DOI: 10.1007/s10072-015-2410-z

    The Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination Revised (ACE-R) is a rapid screening battery, including five sub-scales to explore different cognitive domains: attention/orientation, memory, fluency, language and visuospatial. ACE-R is considered useful in discriminating cognitively normal subjects from patients with mild dementia. The aim of present study was to provide normative values for ACE-R total score and sub-scale scores in a large sample of Italian healthy subjects. Five hundred twenty-six Italian healthy subjects (282 women and 246 men) of different ages (age range 20-93 years) and educational level (from primary school to university) underwent ACE-R and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that age and education significantly influenced performance on ACE-R total score and sub-scale scores. A significant effect of gender was found only in sub-scale attention/orientation. From the derived linear equation, a correction grid for raw scores was built. Inferential cut-offs score were estimated using a non-parametric technique and equivalent scores (ES) were computed. Correlation analysis showed a good significant correlation between ACE-R adjusted scores with MoCA adjusted scores (r = 0.612, p < 0.001). The present study provided normative data for the ACE-R in an Italian population useful for both clinical and research purposes.

  • Rouleau version of the Clock Drawing Test: age- and education-adjusted normative data from a wide Italian sample.

    Publication Date: 01/01/2016 on The Clinical neuropsychologist
    by Siciliano M, Santangelo G, D'Iorio A, Basile G, Piscopo F, Grossi D, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1080/13854046.2016.1241893

    The Clock Drawing Test (CDT) is widely used as a screening tool for discriminating cognitively normal individuals from patients with mild dementia. The aim of present study was to provide normative values for a 10-point quantitative scoring system proposed by Rouleau and colleagues (1992), including CDT total score and subscales score assessing representation of clock face (RC), layout of numbers (LN), and position of hands (PH), in a large sample of Italian healthy individuals.

  • The relationships between interoception and alexithymic trait. The Self-Awareness Questionnaire in healthy subjects.

    Publication Date: 07/08/2015 on Frontiers in psychology
    by Longarzo M, D'Olimpio F, Chiavazzo A, Santangelo G, Trojano L, Grossi D
    DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01149

    Interoception is the basic process enabling evaluation of one's own bodily states. Several previous studies suggested that altered interoception might be related to disorders in the ability to perceive and express emotions, i.e., alexithymia, and to defects in perceiving and describing one's own health status, i.e., hypochondriasis. The main aim of the present study was to investigate the relationships between alexithymic trait and interoceptive abilities evaluated by the "Self-Awareness Questionnaire" (SAQ), a novel self-report tool for assessing interoceptive awareness. Two hundred and fifty healthy subjects completed the SAQ, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 items (TAS-20), and a questionnaire to assess hypochondriasis, the Illness Attitude Scale (IAS). The SAQ showed a two-factor structure, with good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.88). We observed significant direct correlations between SAQ, TAS-20 and two of its subscales, and the IAS. Regression analysis confirmed that the difficulty in identifying and expressing emotions is significantly related with awareness for one's own interoceptive feelings and with a tendency to misinterpret and amplify bodily sensations. From a clinical point of view, the assessment of interoceptive awareness by the SAQ could be pivotal in evaluating several psychopathological conditions, such as the somatoform disorders.

  • Italian normative data for the Battery for Visuospatial Abilities (TERADIC).

    Publication Date: 01/08/2015 on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Trojano L, Siciliano M, Pedone R, Cristinzio C, Grossi D
    DOI: 10.1007/s10072-015-2114-4

    Battery for Visuospatial Abilities (BVA, known in Italy as TeRaDiC) has been developed to analyse putative basic skills involved in drawing and to plan and monitor outcomes after rehabilitation of visuoconstructional disorders. It encompasses eight tasks assessing both simple "perceptual" abilities, such as line length and line orientation judgments and complex "representational" abilities, such as mental rotation. The aim of present study was to provide normative values for BVA collected in a wide sample of healthy Italian subjects. Three hundred seventeen healthy Italian subjects (173 women and 144 men) of different age classes (age range, 40-95 years) and education level (from primary to university), with a normal score on Mini Mental State Examination, completed BVA/TeRaDiC. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that age and education significantly influenced performance on most tests of the BVA/TeRaDiC; only line length judgment was not affected by educational level. Gender significantly affected line orientation judgment and mental rotation, with an advantage for males in both tests. From the derived linear equations, a correction grid for adjusting BVA/TeRaDiC raw scores was built. Using a non-parametric technique, inferential cut-off scores were determined and equivalent scores computed. The present study provided Italian normative data for the BVA/TeRaDiC useful for both clinical and research purposes.

  • Psychometric properties of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale in multiple sclerosis.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2015 on Quality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation
    by Raimo S, Trojano L, Spitaleri D, Petretta V, Grossi D, Santangelo G
    DOI: 10.1007/s11136-015-0940-8

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is frequently associated with depressive symptoms and major depression.

  • "Put Myself Into Your Place": Embodied Simulation and Perspective Taking in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2015 on Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research
    by Conson M, Mazzarella E, Esposito D, Grossi D, Marino N, Massagli A, Frolli A
    DOI: 10.1002/aur.1460

    Embodied cognition theories hold that cognitive processes are grounded in bodily states. Embodied processes in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have classically been investigated in studies on imitation. Several observations suggested that unlike typical individuals who are able of copying the model's actions from the model's position, individuals with ASD tend to reenact the model's actions from their own egocentric perspective. Here, we performed two behavioral experiments to directly test the ability of ASD individuals to adopt another person's point of view. In Experiment 1, participants had to explicitly judge the left/right location of a target object in a scene from their own or the actor's point of view (visual perspective taking task). In Experiment 2, participants had to perform left/right judgments on front-facing or back-facing human body images (own body transformation task). Both tasks can be solved by mentally simulating one's own body motion to imagine oneself transforming into the position of another person (embodied simulation strategy), or by resorting to visual/spatial processes, such as mental object rotation (nonembodied strategy). Results of both experiments showed that individual with ASD solved the tasks mainly relying on a nonembodied strategy, whereas typical controls adopted an embodied strategy. Moreover, in the visual perspective taking task ASD participants had more difficulties than controls in inhibiting other-perspective when directed to keep one's own point of view. These findings suggested that, in social cognitive tasks, individuals with ASD do not resort to embodied simulation and have difficulties in cognitive control over self- and other-perspective.

  • The closing-in phenomenon in Parkinson's disease.

    Publication Date: 01/07/2015 on Parkinsonism & related disorders
    by De Lucia N, Trojano L, Vitale C, Grossi D, Barone P, Santangelo G
    DOI: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2015.04.013

    Closing-in (CI) is a peculiar phenomenon consisting in the tendency to copy drawings close to or superimposed on a model. Recent findings showed that CI can be associated with frontal/executive dysfunctions, likely determining a failure in high-level monitoring of attention-action circuits. CI has been often observed in demented patients, but scarce data are available about CI in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). In the present study, we detected occurrence of CI and investigated the cognitive processes associated to this phenomenon in a large sample of non-demented PD patients.

  • Transcranial Electrical Stimulation over Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Modulates Processing of Social Cognitive and Affective Information.

    Publication Date: 07/05/2015 on PloS one
    by Conson M, Errico D, Mazzarella E, Giordano M, Grossi D, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126448

    Recent neurofunctional studies suggested that lateral prefrontal cortex is a domain-general cognitive control area modulating computation of social information. Neuropsychological evidence reported dissociations between cognitive and affective components of social cognition. Here, we tested whether performance on social cognitive and affective tasks can be modulated by transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). To this aim, we compared the effects of tDCS on explicit recognition of emotional facial expressions (affective task), and on one cognitive task assessing the ability to adopt another person's visual perspective. In a randomized, cross-over design, male and female healthy participants performed the two experimental tasks after bi-hemispheric tDCS (sham, left anodal/right cathodal, and right anodal/left cathodal) applied over DLPFC. Results showed that only in male participants explicit recognition of fearful facial expressions was significantly faster after anodal right/cathodal left stimulation with respect to anodal left/cathodal right and sham stimulations. In the visual perspective taking task, instead, anodal right/cathodal left stimulation negatively affected both male and female participants' tendency to adopt another's point of view. These findings demonstrated that concurrent facilitation of right and inhibition of left lateral prefrontal cortex can speed-up males' responses to threatening faces whereas it interferes with the ability to adopt another's viewpoint independently from gender. Thus, stimulation of cognitive control areas can lead to different effects on social cognitive skills depending on the affective vs. cognitive nature of the task, and on the gender-related differences in neural organization of emotion processing.

  • Impact of body posture on laterality judgement and explicit recognition tasks performed on self and others' hands.

    Publication Date: 01/04/2015 on Experimental brain research
    by Conson M, Errico D, Mazzarella E, De Bellis F, Grossi D, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1007/s00221-015-4210-3

    Judgments on laterality of hand stimuli are faster and more accurate when dealing with one's own than others' hand, i.e. the self-advantage. This advantage seems to be related to activation of a sensorimotor mechanism while implicitly processing one's own hands, but not during explicit one's own hand recognition. Here, we specifically tested the influence of proprioceptive information on the self-hand advantage by manipulating participants' body posture during self and others' hand processing. In Experiment 1, right-handed healthy participants judged laterality of either self or others' hands, whereas in Experiment 2, an explicit recognition of one's own hands was required. In both experiments, the participants performed the task while holding their left or right arm flexed with their hand in direct contact with their chest ("flexed self-touch posture") or with their hand placed on a wooden smooth surface in correspondence with their chest ("flexed proprioceptive-only posture"). In an "extended control posture", both arms were extended and in contact with thighs. In Experiment 1 (hand laterality judgment), we confirmed the self-advantage and demonstrated that it was enhanced when the subjects judged left-hand stimuli at 270° orientation while keeping their left arm in the flexed proprioceptive-only posture. In Experiment 2 (explicit self-hand recognition), instead, we found an advantage for others' hand ("self-disadvantage") independently from posture manipulation. Thus, position-related proprioceptive information from left non-dominant arm can enhance sensorimotor one's own body representation selectively favouring implicit self-hands processing.