Luigi Trojano

Professor of Neuropsychology

Name Luigi
Surname Trojano
Institution Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli
Address Department of Psychology, University of Campania 'Luigi Vanvitelli', Viale Ellittico 31, 81100 Caserta, Italy


  • Affective theory of mind in patients with Parkinson's disease: comment.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2014 on Psychiatry and clinical neurosciences
    by Santangelo G, Vitale C, Errico D, Grossi D, Trojano L, Barone P
  • The genesis of closing-in in Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia: a comparative clinical and experimental study.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2014 on Neuropsychology
    by De Lucia N, Grossi D, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1037/neu0000036

    Closing-in (CI) in visuo-constructional tasks occurs when a drawing is reproduced close to or superimposed on the original model. CI has been often observed in Alzheimer disease (AD) patients and only rarely investigated in patients with vascular dementia (VD). Recent studies suggested that CI in AD patients represents a default behavior released by frontal-executive impairments, but the cognitive mechanisms behind this phenomenon in VD patients have not been clarified. We aimed to ascertain whether the same mechanisms could determine CI in VD and in AD patients. For this purpose we explored whether CI is related to frontal-executive or visuospatial impairments in a prospective sample of AD and VD patients, and investigated whether CI can be induced by a secondary task in patients with either disease.

  • Subthreshold depression and subjective cognitive complaints in Parkinson's disease.

    Publication Date: 01/03/2014 on European journal of neurology
    by Santangelo G, Vitale C, Trojano L, Angrisano MG, Picillo M, Errico D, Agosti V, Grossi D, Barone P
    DOI: 10.1111/ene.12219

    Subthreshold depression (SubD) is characterized by clinically relevant depressive symptoms not meeting criteria for major depression. The possible association of SubD with subjective cognitive complaints and/or objective cognitive impairments was investigated in a sample of consecutive, non-demented Parkinson's disease (PD) outpatients.

  • Approaching threats elicit a freeze-like response in humans.

    Publication Date: 21/02/2014 on Neuroscience letters
    by Sagliano L, Cappuccio A, Trojano L, Conson M
    DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2013.12.038

    Freezing is one of the most widely recognized defensive reactions to approaching threats in animals. Here we tested whether the same stimuli can elicit freeze-like responses in healthy humans as well. We used a modified version of the two-frame apparent motion paradigm, in which both size and location of a stimulus within a background were manipulated; by these means, participants perceived the stimuli as approaching or receding. In Experiment 1, we showed that implicitly processed approaching threats (e.g., spiders or snakes) elicited a stronger freeze-like response (operationalized as slower reaction times) with respect to receding threats; freezing was significantly related to higher levels of participants' state anxiety. In Experiment 2, approaching/threatening animals were explicitly judged as more threatening than receding ones. Finally, in two further control experiments we observed that the same manipulation of stimuli's size and location, but in absence of apparent motion, did not affect freezing (Experiment 3) or explicit threat judgements (Experiment 4). The present findings demonstrated that approaching threats are critical to elicit freezing in humans, in line with animals' behaviour.

  • The role of embodied simulation in mental transformation of whole-body images: evidence from Parkinson's disease.

    Publication Date: 01/02/2014 on Human movement science
    by Conson M, Trojano L, Vitale C, Mazzarella E, Allocca R, Barone P, Grossi D, Santangelo G
    DOI: 10.1016/j.humov.2013.10.006

    It has been repeatedly demonstrated that mentally performing an action and mentally transforming body-parts entail simulation of one's own body movements, consistent with predictions of embodied cognition theories. However, the involvement of embodied simulation in mental transformation of whole-body images is still disputed. Here, we assessed own body transformation in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients with symptoms most affecting the left or the right body side. PD patients were required to perform left-right judgments on front-facing or back-facing human figures, and a letter rotation task. Results demonstrated that PD patients were selectively impaired in judging the side of back-facing human figures corresponding to their own most affected side, but performed as well as healthy subjects on mental transformation of front-facing bodies and on letter rotation. These findings demonstrate a parallel impairment between motor and mental simulation mechanisms in PD patients, thus highlighting the specific contribution of embodied cognition to mental transformation of whole-body images.

  • Impulse control disorders and cognitive dysfunctions in patients with Parkinson's disease.

    Publication Date: 01/11/2013 on Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology
    by Santangelo G, Trojano L, Barone P, Grossi D, Vitale C
    DOI: 10.1007/s10072-013-1355-3
  • Predictors of recovery of responsiveness in prolonged anoxic vegetative state. Author reply.

    Publication Date: 01/10/2013 on Neurology
    by Estraneo A, Moretta P, Terme T, Trojano L
  • Frontal defects contribute to the genesis of closing-in in Alzheimer's disease patients.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2013 on Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS
    by De Lucia N, Grossi D, Maria Fasanaro A, Carpi S, Trojano L
    DOI: 10.1017/S1355617713000568

    Closing-in (CI) refers to copying drawings near to or superimposed on the original model, and is often observed in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Contrasting hypotheses have been suggested to explain CI, but no prospective study has directly verified these interpretations. We evaluated the role of frontal/executive versus visuo-spatial impairments in a prospective sample of AD patients, and also explored whether different types of CI are related to specific neuropsychological tasks. We enrolled 64 AD patients who underwent copying tasks and an extensive neuropsychological assessment of visuo-spatial and visuo-constructional skills, frontal/executive abilities and anterograde memory. AD patients with CI showed more severe impairment on frontal/executive functions than AD patients without CI. Moreover, the tendency to produce copies superimposed on the model was selectively associated with poor inhibitory control for irrelevant responses. On this basis, we suggest that different CI phenomena could be ascribed to distinctive frontal/executive defects.

  • "Avoiding or approaching eyes"? Introversion/extraversion affects the gaze-cueing effect.

    Publication Date: 01/08/2013 on Cognitive processing
    by Ponari M, Trojano L, Grossi D, Conson M
    DOI: 10.1007/s10339-013-0559-z

    We investigated whether the extra-/introversion personality dimension can influence processing of others' eye gaze direction and emotional facial expression during a target detection task. On the basis of previous evidence showing that self-reported trait anxiety can affect gaze-cueing with emotional faces, we also verified whether trait anxiety can modulate the influence of intro-/extraversion on behavioral performance. Fearful, happy, angry or neutral faces, with either direct or averted gaze, were presented before the target appeared in spatial locations congruent or incongruent with stimuli's eye gaze direction. Results showed a significant influence of intra-/extraversion dimension on gaze-cueing effect for angry, happy, and neutral faces with averted gaze. Introverts did not show the gaze congruency effect when viewing angry expressions, but did so with happy and neutral faces; extraverts showed the opposite pattern. Importantly, the influence of intro-/extraversion on gaze-cueing was not mediated by trait anxiety. These findings demonstrated that personality differences can shape processing of interactions between relevant social signals.

  • Motor imagery in Asperger syndrome: testing action simulation by the hand laterality task.

    Publication Date: 23/07/2013 on PloS one
    by Conson M, Mazzarella E, Frolli A, Esposito D, Marino N, Trojano L, Massagli A, Gison G, Aprea N, Grossi D
    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070734

    Asperger syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental condition within the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) characterized by specific difficulties in social interaction, communication and behavioural control. In recent years, it has been suggested that ASD is related to a dysfunction of action simulation processes, but studies employing imitation or action observation tasks provided mixed results. Here, we addressed action simulation processes in adolescents with AS by means of a motor imagery task, the classical hand laterality task (to decide whether a rotated hand image is left or right); mental rotation of letters was also evaluated. As a specific marker of action simulation in hand rotation, we assessed the so-called biomechanical effect, that is the advantage for judging hand pictures showing physically comfortable versus physically awkward positions. We found the biomechanical effect in typically-developing participants but not in participants with AS. Overall performance on both hand laterality and letter rotation tasks, instead, did not differ in the two groups. These findings demonstrated a specific alteration of motor imagery skills in AS. We suggest that impaired mental simulation and imitation of goal-less movements in ASD could be related to shared cognitive mechanisms.