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Topology Highlights Mesoscopic Functional Equivalence Between Imagery and Perception: The Case of Hypnotizability
Esther Ibáñez-Marcelo, Lisa Campioni, Angkoon Phinyomark, Giovanni Petri, Enrica L. Santarcangelo
The functional equivalence (FE) between imagery and perception or motion has been proposed on the basis of neuroimaging evidence of large spatially overlapping activations between real and imagined sensori-motor conditions. However, similar local activation patterns do not imply the same mesoscopic integration of brain regions, which can be described by tools from Topological Data Analysis (TDA). On the basis of behavioral findings, stronger FE has been hypothesized in the individuals with high scores of hypnotizability scores (highs) with respect to low hypnotizable participants (lows) who differ between each other in the proneness to modify memory, perception and behavior according to specific imaginative suggestions. Here we present the first EEG evidence of stronger FE in highs. In fact, persistent homology shows that the highs EEG topological asset during real and imagined sensory conditions is significantly more similar than the lows. As a corollary finding, persistent homology shows lower restructuring of the EEG asset in highs than in lows during both sensory and imagery tasks with respect to basal conditions. Present findings support the view that greater embodiment of mental images may be responsible for the highs greater proneness to respond to sensori-motor suggestions and to report involuntariness in action. In addition, findings indicate hypnotizability-related sensory and cognitive information processing and suggest that the psycho-physiological trait of hypnotizability may modulate more than one aspect of the everyday life.