Lindsay Oberman

Lindsay M. Oberman, PhD
Instructor in Neurology

Education History:
M.A., PhD., Experimental Psychology, University of California, San Diego
B.S. Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology/Psychology, Emory University

Research Interests

EMPATHY: Rather than perceiving something as outside and separate from yourself (duality), empathy is the ability of being that which is perceived, and becoming that which is beheld. Empathy can be experienced for others' actions, thoughts, sensations or emotions. It is the unification of object and subject. Empathy is both a cognitive process (the ability to understand another's emotional state) and an affective capacity (the sharing of the emotional state of another). My research interest lies in empathy disorders, specifically Autism Spectrum Disorders.

MIRROR NEURONS: These neurons, located in the prefrontal cortex (area 44, Broca's area) respond to self-induced actions, imagined action, and the observation of these actions in other individuals. It is thought that similar neurons may exist in the somatosensory, cognitive, and affective systems. It has been argued that these neurons serve as a mechanism for cognitive empathy of other individuals' physical, cognitive, and emotional state and may be dysfunctional in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS: Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by a number of impairments including a lack of social empathy, a lack of understanding of other's thoughts and facial expressions, a delayed or complete absence of communication skills, difficulty with imagination, and difficulty with social interaction. Though many theories exist on the neurological basis of this enigmatic disorder, the exact cause is largely unknown. My research interest lies in using imaging and electrophysiological techniques (such as EEG, fMRI, and TMS) to investigate neural circuits whose dysfunction may account for the behavioral pathology seen in Autism Spectrum Disorders with the long term goal of developing novel therapeutic interventions.

Personal Interests: When Lindsay is not working in the lab, she enjoys spending time with her husband and baby outdoors hiking, skiing, going to the beach, and strolling through neighborhoods.

Personal Goals: Lindsay hopes to one day discover the cause of Autism and win the Nobel Prize!

Research Publications:

  1. Oberman LM (in press). Repetitive TMS protocols. In Pascual-Leone, A. & Rotenberg, A. (Eds.) Neuromethods: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. New York: Springer.
  2. Oberman LM, Edwards D, Eldaief M, Pascual-Leone A. 2011. Safety of Theta Burst Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology. 28, 67-74. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21221011
  3. Freitas C, Perez J, Knobel M, Tormos JM, Oberman LM, Eldaief M, Bashir S, Vernet M, Peña-Gómez C, Pascual-Leone A. 2011. Changes in cortical plasticity across the lifespan. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 3:5. PMID 21519394
  4. Pascual-Leone A, Freitas C, Oberman LM, Horvath JC, Halko M, Eldaief M, Bashir S, Vernet M, Shafi M, Westover B, Vahabzadeh-Hagh AM, Rotenberg A. (in press) Characterizing brain cortical plasticity and network dynamics across the age-span in health and disease with TMS-EEG and TMS-fMRI. Brain Topography. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21842407
  5. McClintock SM, Freitas C, Oberman LM, Lisanby SH, Pascual-Leone A. 2011. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Neuroscientific Probe of Cortical Function in Schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry. PMID: 21571254
  6. Fecteau S, Agosta S, Oberman LM, Pascual-Leone A. 2011. Brain stimulation can improve naming in adults with Asperger's syndrome. Eur. J. Neuroscience. 34, 158-164. PMID: 21676037
  7. Stamoulis C, Oberman LM, Praeg E, Pascual-Leone A. 2011. Single pulse TMS-Induced modulations of resting brain neurodynamics encoded in EEG Phase. Brain Topography. 24, 105-13. PMID: 21203817
  8. Oberman LM, Horvath JC, Pascual-Leone, A. 2010. TMS: Using the Theta-Burst Protocol to Explore Mechasnism of Plasticity in Individuals with Fragile X Syndrome and Autism. J. Vis Exp. 46. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21248685
  9. Cohen DA, Freitas C, Tormos JM, Oberman LM, Eldaief M, Pascual-Leone A. (2010). Enhancing plasticity through repeated rTMS sessions: timing matters. Clinical Neurophysiology. 121, 2159-64. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20541968
  10. Oberman LM, Ifert-Miller F, Najib U, Bashir S, Woollacott I, Gonzalez-Heydrich J, Picker J, Rotenberg A, Pascual-Leone A. 2010. Transcranial magnetic stimulation provides means to assess cortical plasticity and excitability in humans with fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorder. Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience. 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21423512
  11. Oberman LM, Ramachandran VS, Niedenthal PM, Wikielman P. 2010. Embodied Simulation-A conduit for converting perception into understanding and high-level social skills. In Balcetis E, Lassiter D (Eds.) The Social Psychology of Visual Perception. New York: Psychology Press.
  12. Oberman LM, Pascual-Leone A. 2009. Report of Seizure Induced by Continuous Theta Burst Stimulation. Brain Stimulation. 2, 246-247. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20160904
  13. Oberman LM, Winkielman P, Ramachandran VS. 2009. Slow Echo: Facial EMG evidence for the delay of spontaneous, but not voluntary emotional mimicry in children with autism spectrum disorders. Developmental Science. 12, 510-520. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19635079
  14. Winkielman P, McIntosh DN, Oberman LM. 2009. Embodied and disembodied emotion processing: Learning from and about typical and autistic individuals. Emotion Review. 1, 178-190.
  15. Oberman LM, Ramachandran VS. 2008. Reflections on the mirror neuron system: Their evolutionary functions beyond motor representation. In Pineda JA (Ed.) Role of Mirroring in Social Cognition. Totowa, New Jersey: Humana Press.
  16. Winkielman P, Niedenthal PM, Oberman LM. 2008. Embodied Perspective on Emotion-Cognition Interactions. In Pineda JA (Ed.) Role of Mirroring in Social Cognition. Totowa, New Jersey: Humana Press.
  17. Oberman LM, Pascual-Leone A. 2008. Cortical plasticity: A proposed mechanism by which genomic factors lead to the behavioral and neurological phenotype of autism spectrum and psychotic spectrum disorders. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 31, 241-320.
  18. Oberman LM, Ramachandran VS. 2008. How do Shared Circuits develop? Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 31, 1-58.
  19. Oberman LM, Ramachandran VS, Pineda JA. 2008. Modulation of mu suppression in children with autism spectrum disorders in response to familiar or unfamiliar stimuli: The mirror neuron hypothesis. Neuropsychologia. 46,1558-1565. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18304590
  20. Winkielman P, Niedenthal PM, Oberman LM. 2008. The embodied emotional mind. In Semin GR, Smith ER (Eds.) Embodied grounding: Social, cognitive, affective, and neuroscientific approaches. (pp. 263-288). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  21. Oberman LM, Ramachandran VS. 2007. Evidence for deficits in mirror neuron functioning, multisensory integration, and sound-form symbolism in autism spectrum disorders. Social Neuroscience.
  22. Oberman LM, Winkielman P, Ramachandran VS. 2007. Face to Face: Blocking facial muscles selectively impairs recognition of emotional faces. Social Neuroscience. 2, 167-178. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18633815
  23. Oberman LM, McCleery JP, Ramachandran VS, Pineda JA. (2007). EEG evidence for mirror neuron activity during the observation of human and robot actions: Toward an analysis of the human qualities of interactive robots. Neurocomputing. 70, 2194-2203.
  24. Oberman LM, Pineda JA, Ramachandran VS. 2007. The Human Mirror Neuron System: A Link Between Action Observation and Social Skills. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2, 62-66. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18985120
  25. Oberman LM, Ramachandran VS. 2007. The simulating social mind: The role of simulation in the social and communicative deficits of autism spectrum disorders. Psychological Bulletin. 133, 310-327. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17338602
  26. Pineda JA, Oberman LM. 2006). What Goads Nicotine Addicts to Smoke? Brain Research. 1121, 128-135.
  27. Oberman LM, Hubbard EM, McCleery JP, Altschuler EL, Ramachandran VS, Pineda JA. 2005. EEG evidence for mirror neuron dysfunction in autism. Cognitive Brain Research. 24, 190-198 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15993757