2003: PhD Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London, UK.
2002: European Diploma in Cognitive and Brain Sciences (EDCBS) obtained. The Max Planck-Institute for Psychological Research, München, Germany.
1997: Laurea (BSc) in Experimental Psychology obtained (grade: 110/110 Summa cum Laude). University of Padova, Italy.

Academic career and teaching activities


2023 - present: Member of the Recruiting Committee of the University of Trento (Comitato per il reclutamento e lo sviluppo delle carriere), Italy.

2022 - present: Vice-Coordinator of the CIMeC Master program in Cognitive Science. Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.

2020 - present: Full Professor in “Psychobiology and Physiological Psychology”. Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy. 

2020: Fellow of the Italian Academy for advanced studies in the USA (spring term). Columbia University, New York, USA.

2019 - 2022: Coordinator of the CIMeC Master program in Cognitive Science. Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.

2015 - 2020: Associate Professor in “Psychobiology and Physiological Psychology”. Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.

2007 - present: Principal Investigator. Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.

2005 - 2014: Researcher (Chargé des Recherches CR1). Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, INSERM (French national institute for medical research), France. 

2003 - 2005: Post-Doctoral Fellow (European Marie Curie Individual Fellow). Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, INSERM, France.



Full Course (1): “Psychobiology of cultural learning”. Faculty of Cognitive Science, University of Trento, IT.

Full Course (2): “Current debates in cognitive neurosciences” (In English). Faculty of Cognitive Science, University of Trento, IT.


Parts of the Course (1): “Foundations in cognitive psychology and neuroscience”. Cognitive and Brain Sciences (CIMeC) Master in Cognitive Science, University of Trento, IT.

Occasional Lectures at the Master in Cognitive Science (Cogmaster), Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, FR.

Research interests

The neurocognitive bases of numerical cognition and of semantic processing. Symbol learning and the neural changes associated to it. The brain networks underlying semantic representations of words and numbers. Navigation in space and in memory. Representational spaces in the mind and in the brain.

Research work

In my research group we study the relation between perception and symbolic cognition: on one side, we investigate which aspects of perception act as fundamental building blocks for the development of language-based symbolic cognition; on the other side we study if and how symbolic acquisitions in turn shape perception. 

We like combining different methodological approaches and studying different populations: according to the core research question at hand, we use either psychophysics and/or neuroimaging (fMRI, M-EEG) in adults, children and infants from different cultures (e.g. westerns compared to amazon indigenous indians) and with different cognitive/perceptual skills (typically developing compared to dyscalculics and/or dyslexics).

Our research spans over two main areas: number processing and word processing.

Memberships in societies and scientific committees

2023-present: Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the “Fondation Fyssen” (Paris, FR).

2023-present: Member of the Scientific Council for the “Paris Institut du Cerveau de l'Enfant” (Paris, FR).

2023-present: Member of the Social & Behavioural Sciences selection panel for the ICREA Academia call 2023 (Barcelona, ES).

2021-present: Member of the selection panel for the Schwab Center for Dyslexia and Cognitive Diversity, UCSF (San Francisco, USA).

2019-present: Elected Member of the International Neuropsychological Symposium.

2019-2020: Panel Chair of the ERC Starting Grants (ERC-2019-StG) for the SH4 (“The Human Mind and Its Complexity”). European Research Council. (Bruxelles, Be).

2016-2020: Panel Member of the ERC Starting Grants (ERC-2016-StG; ERC-2017-StG; ERC-2018-StG) for the SH4 (“The Human Mind and Its Complexity”). European Research Council. (Bruxelles, Be).

2010-present: Examiner in several PhD thesis committee (University of Szeged, H; University of Padova, IT; University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Be; University of Louven, Be; University of Florence, IT; University Paris Descartes, FR, Amsterdam University, NL).

Regular Ad-hoc reviewer for scientific journals:

Science, Nature Neuroscience, PLoS Biology, Current Biology, Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Cerebral Cortex, NeuroImage, Cognition, Cognitive Neuropsychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology:HPP, Animal Cognition, Cortex, Laterality, Neuropsychology, Neuropsychologia, Perception & Psychophysics, Vision research, Journal of Vision, PLoS One.

Conferences and lectures


- ECVP (European Conference of Visual Perception). Keynote Speaker (Perception Lecture). Paphos, Cyprus, 2023. 

- SPADE workshop (Sensory plasticity, Adaptation, and Development). Pisa Vision Lab, Pisa, Italy, 2018.

- International Neuropsychological Symposium. Crete, Greece, 2017.

- Collège de France. Colloquium on “Interactions between Space, Time and Number: 20 Years of Research”. Talk: “How do young children expand their number sense?”. Paris, FR. 2013.

- International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists World Congress. Talk: “How culture shapes the brain”. Paris, FR. 2012.

- Collège de France. Colloquium on “Cognitive Science and Education”. Talk: “Le gout du nombre et comment l’acquerir”. Paris, FR. 2012.

- Attention and Performance Symposium "Space, Time and Number in the Brain". Talk: “Neurocognitive Start-up-tool for symbolic number knowledge”. Cernay, FR. 2010.

- Education, Cognition and Neuroscience: International workshop. Department of Cognitive and Education Sciences. Talk: “Neurocognitive Start-up-tool in Numerical Cognition”. University of Trento, IT. 2009.

- Concepts, Actions, and Objects: International workshop. Center for Mind/Brain Sciences. Talk: “Number concepts: Quantity meets symbols in parietal cortex”. Universtiy of Trento, IT. 2007.

- Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting. Talk: “Number sense: Quantity meets symbols in parietal cortex”. New York, USA. 2007.

- British Experimental Psychology Society Meeting. Talk: “The quantifying brain: cerebral correlates of numerosity estimation and counting”. London, UK. 2001.

INVITED LECTURES (a short selection)

- -Annual conference of the AIP (Italian Psychology Association). Lucca, IT, 2023.

- COSYNE meeting, Symposium on Navigation and Inference. Lisbon, Portugal, 2022.

- Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. 2020.

- Central European University, Budapest, HU. 2017.

- Montessori International, Amsterdam, NL. 2016.

- International School on Mind, Brain, and Education. Erice, IT. 2015.

- Humboldt University of Berlin, DE. 2014.

- University of Louvain la Neuve, BE. 2014.

- University of Cambridge, UK. 2013.

- Pisa Vision Lab, CNR Pisa, IT. 2012.

- National Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties Conference. London, UK. 2010.

- French Developmental Neuroscience Group. Neurospin, Saclay, FR. 2010.

- Associazione Italiana Psicologia. Sciacca, IT. 2004.

- University of Gent, BE. 2002.

Other work

University responsabilities:

- Membro della Commissione Paritetica Docenti Studenti per la laurea triennale Scienze e Tecniche di Psicologia Cognitiva 

- Responsabile CIMeC per la Valutazione VQR 2011-2014

- Membro del Comitato Esecutivo della Scuola di Dottorato del CIMeC.

- Membro del Gruppo di Lavoro AVA2/SUA RD

- Referente CIMeC per la Biblioteca

- Membro della Commissione per la selezione al Collegio di Merito B. Clesio

Clinical-related activity:

  • 2010-2015: Teaching at “Continuing education courses” for pediatricians and speech therapists on dyscalculia in Italy, France, Belgium, England.
  • 2012: Co-responsible in the conception and implementation of a computer-based Education and Rehabilitation Game for number processing and calculation (“The number catcher”). Paris, FR.
  • 2000: Consulting in the conception of a test for diagnosis of developmental dyscalculia (“Dyscalculia Screener”, by B. Butterworth, nferNelson Publisher). London, UK.

Popularization of scientific results:

  • Articles/interviews in newspapers and scientific magazins (« National Geographic », « La Stampa », « Vita d'Infanzia », « Il Trentino », « L'Adige », « Telerama», « Pour La Science », « Science et Vie »).
  • TV and radio programs (« Le magazine de la santé » of France3, « Icarus », France; « radio3scienza », Italy).
  • Talks at various conferences, mainly related to Neuroscience and Education (e.g., Association Montessori International, Amsterdam; Ministero dell'Istruzione, Università e Ricerca, Roma).
  • Installation of experiments for visitors at the Science Museum in Bristol (UK) (“science@bristol science museum”) on basic number abilities.