2000-2004 Ph.D. in Cognitive and Computational Neuropsychology, Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation, University of Edinburgh, UK. Interdisciplinary focus on cognitive and neurocomputational models of the human prefrontal cortex.  

1997-1999 Master of Science in Logic, Computation and Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. 

1992-1996 Laurea in Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence cum laude (Equivalent to a Undergraduate+Master), Department of Philosophy and Physics, Università di Napoli – Italy. 

Academic career and teaching activities


Aug 2007- Feb 2017 Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for Mind/Brain Science (CIMeC) and Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science  University of Trento, Italy, University of Trento, Italy

Aug 2004- Jul 2007 Postdoctoral Researcher, Cognitive control and psychopathology laboratory, Department of Psychology, Washington University - St. Louis, Missouri (MO), U.S.A. (Directors: Todd Braver, Deanna Barch).



2019 (Feb-Mag) Ergonomia Cognitiva – Per la Triennale in Psicologia e Interfacce – Università di Trento (42 ore).

2019 (Mar-Mag) I Fondamenti Biologici del Comportamento – Corso per Educatori Professionali – Università di Ferrara e Università di Trento (16 ore).

2018 Nov –2019 Jan- Introduzione alla Psicologia per l’insegnamento – Università di Trento – Percorsi PFPTI-02 (28 ore).

2018 (Apr-Giu) Introduzione alla Psicologia per l’insegnamento – Università di Trento – Percorsi PFPTI-02 (28 ore).

2018 (Mar-Apr). CREATIVITA’: Le basi neuro-cognitive del processo creativo e le pratiche per il suo potenziamento. Formazione Insegnanti Rapporti con la Scuola (FIRS) Università di Trento (12 ore)

2018 (Mar-Mag) I Fondamenti Biologici del Comportamento – Corso per Educatori Professionali – Università di Ferrara e Università di Trento (16 ore).

2018 (Feb-Mag) Ergonomia Cognitiva – Per la Triennale in Psicologia e Interfacce – Università di Trento (42 ore).

2018 (Feb-Mar) MINDFULNESS: Filosofia, neuroscienze e pratica dell’esercizio della consapevolezza per lo sviluppo personale dell’insegnante e dello studente – Formazione Insegnanti Rapporti con la Scuola (FIRS) Università di Trento (20 ore).

2017 Dec – 2018 Jan - Introduzione alla Psicologia per l’insegnamento – Università di Trento – Percorsi PFPTI-02 (28 ore).

2017 (Mar-Apr) Mindfulness nelle scuole - Università degli studi di Trento (16 ore) - Formazione per insegnanti

2016 (16 May) Neuroscienze e Mindfulness – Corso Personalità e Motivazione – Università degli Studi di Trento (2 ore). 

2015 (24-25 Sept) Neuroscienze e Architettura – Corso di Formazione. Ordine degli Architetti di Napoli (4 hours).

2015 Neuroscienze Cognitive – Didattica dell’anatomia, fisiologia e patologie degenerative del sistema nervoso. Università di Trento (12 ore).

2015 Laboratorio di tecnologie didattiche Strumenti di indagine e tecniche di comunicazione applicate alle neuroscienze. Università di Trento (28 hours)

2015 (Feb-Apr) Corso Brain wellness Trainer. E-learning Neocogita Academy (32 hours).

2014 Neuroscienze – Master Pianificazione e gestione dei processi inclusivi nella scuola. Università di Trento (10 hours) 

2014 Guest Lectures on Psicopatologia clinica Università degli Studi di Trento (4 hours on autism and parenting).

2013/14 Tirocinio and (Master and Doctoral) Thesis Supervisor – Cognitive training in children with and without cognitive impairments. University of Trento.

2013 Independent Study (Master in Cognitive Sciences): Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation University of Trento, Italy (60 hours).

2012/13 Tirocinio and (Master and Doctoral) Thesis Supervisor – Working memory training in children – student in Laurea Specialistica, University of Trento.

2011/13 Tirocinio and (Master and Doctoral) Thesis Supervisor – FMRI studies of parental cognition – students in Laurea Specialistica, Master in Cognitive Sciences and PhD program. 

2012 Independent Study (Master in Cognitive Sciences): Cognitive neuroscience of mental training and enhancement. University of Trento, Italy (60 hours)

2010/11 – Master Thesis supervisor -  A rTMS study on self-referential processing, default mode activity and executive functions. University of Trento, Italy. 

2010/11 – Independent Study (Master Student in Cognitive Sciences): The neuronal basis of meta-cognitive components of consciousness during REM sleep. University of Trento, Italy (50 hours)

2010 – Guest Lectures on Executive Functions (Master Program). Fundamentals of Cognitive Neuroscience. University of Trento, Italy. (6 hours).

2006/07 Postdoctoral Lecturer: Two classes - Introduction to Psychology (Undergraduate and Master Program) - Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA. (72 hours each class).

2002/03 Lecturer: Distributed Computation for Cognition (Master and PhD Program) School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. (60 hours).

2000-2002 Teaching Assistant in: Distributed Computation for Cognition, Neural Computation, Cognitive Psychology (Master and PhD Program) - School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

1998/99 Teaching Assistant in: Language and Thought, Philosophy of Mind, Incompleteness and Uncomputability. – (Master and Phd program) Department of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA 

Research interests

The study of attention is essential to understand how information is processed in cognitive systems. Within this framework, mylines of research concern mindfulness meditation, cognitive control, automatic vs voluntary attention, creativity, work performance and well-being.

My investigative methods include: psychophysics, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Electroencephalography (EEG), Eye-tracking, Connectionist Networks.

Research work

Mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a type of mental training involving the conscious effort to control attention on a target (usually the physical sensations linked to the breath), while simultaneously monitoring and letting go of distracting thoughts (excitation) and drifting of attention (dullness). In this line of research, we investigate how such mental trainings affect not just the regulation of attention, but also the regulation of emotion and the sense of self, both in adults and kids.

Conscious versus unconscious executive control
Executive control refers to the ability of the human brain - mostly associated with prefrontal cortex activity - to regulate attention in the execution of novel or complex goal-directed tasks. Previous studies and models of human cognition have assumed that executive control necessarily requires conscious processing of information. This perspective is in line with common sense and personal introspection, which suggest that our choices and action regulations are intentional and based on conscious stimuli.
Nevertheless, we and other researchers are showing in the last few years that executive control can involve or be triggered by unconscious processing of information, with consequent effects on observed behaviors. We investigate how interplay between brain networks for controlled attention (executive networks) and mind wandering (default-mode networks) plays a key role in the regulation of such different degrees of consciousness.

Brain mechanisms of automatic triggering of attention
In this line of research, we study brain dynamics during the spontaneous orientation of attention and the so-called "attentional disengagement". Automatic focus orientation is an indicator of the saliency of a stimulus. On the contrary, a lack of automatic attention orientation indicates a lack of attentive stimulus salience for the specific individual. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies show that a lack of automatic attentional orientation during resting state can be measured and identified as a lack of deactivation of the so-called default-mode network in the brain.
This network is, however, very active during the resting state phase, and is correlated with a mental state of free association (mind-wandering) and disengagement (detachment) from external sensory stimuli. When an individual's attention is selectively active towards an external sensory stimulation, the default-mode network is deactivated.
Therefore, its lack of deactivation is a good indicator of lack of automatic selective focus.
We have used this mechanism to a variety of psychological phenomena. In particular, in one set of experiments we analyze the triggering of attention in adults who are exposed to infant auditory stimuli, and we found significant gender differences. In another project we investigate brain activity participants diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in response to socially-sounded auditory stimuli.
The basic hypothesis is that in subjects with DSA some of these auditory stimuli indicate a different activation pattern in the default-mode network than a control group with typical development.

Creativity as a balance between attentional control and mind-wandering
Being creative, roughly definable as the process of generating things which are new and good, is a special ability. In this line of research, we investigated the neural bases of the creative process in artistic and non-artistic settings. In general, we support the idea that creativity would influence the functional connectivity between regions involved in the default mode network, implicated in divergent thinking and generating novel ideas, and the executive control network, implicated in controlling attention and evaluating ideas. In a first project, we found stronger connectivity between areas of these two networks during creative tasks involving the visual arts, and this difference was enhanced in professional artists. In another study we are exploring the brain correlates (white and grey matter) in individuals with different degrees of entrepreneurial attitudes (thus a non-artistic form of creativity). 

Attentional performance in the workplace and wellbeing 
In this line of research, we investigate the link between the propensity to distraction and the control of attention while executing complex tasks in the workplace that require a continuous focus of attention, especially under stressful conditions. Several studies in cognitive ergonomics are showing how individual variability, emotional regulation, interpersonal competence within the working team and digital technologies adopted are all key factors to predict attentional performance in the workplace, and how these processes are linked to individual wellbeing. In a large project we are investigating how such variables can affect work performance and wellbeing in operators in retirement homes, and if and how they influence cognitive, emotional and relational variables in elderly guests and their family.

Memberships in societies and scientific committees

• Associate Editor for: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Editor for the Research Topic issue on “Unconscious information processing in executive control”. 

• Review Editor for: Frontiers in Cognition

• Ad hoc reviewer for: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience; NeuroImage; Trends in Cognitive Sciences; Journal of Neuroscience; Cortex; Human Brain Mapping; Journal of Cognitive Enhancement. 

Awards and honours

2016-today Grant - Progetto CollegaMenti – Technologies for happiness. A project funded by the Province of Trento (PAT - Italy) to improve the quality of life in nursing homes by improving relationships between operators, guests and families using state of the art technologies. (Principal Investigator: Nicola De Pisapia).

2012- 2014 Seed Money funding -  European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – For innovative startups in applied research - 105,000 € – (Head of the project: Nicola De Pisapia).

2011-2012 Grant (part of the scientific team) - Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio Trento e Rovereto – “Capolavori della mente- creatività, cognizione ed emozione nelle collezioni del MART) – 100,000 € - (Principal Investigator: David Melcher)

2007-2011 Fellowships - Società Scienze Mente Cervello (SMC)/Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Trento e Rovereto.

2004-2007 Fellowships - ONR N00014-04-1-0004 (Office of Naval Research).

2003-2007 Fellowships - R01 (NIH) MH06607803 (National Institute of Health).

1999-2002 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

1997-1999 Full Fulbright Fellowship.

Conferences and lectures

LECTURES (representative of last 5 years

  • Mar 22, 2019 – Neuroscienze ed arte. Galleria d’Arte Moderna Ricci Oddi, Piacenza, Italy.
  • Sep 25 2018 – Neuroscienze e Mindfulness. Convegno “L’aula Snoezelen per il corpo e la mente”, Centro Don Ziglio. Levico Terme (TN), Italia
  • Mar 4 2018 – L’Io nel cervello. XXVIII Convegno SIMPAT (Società Italiana Metodologie Psicoterapeutiche ed Analisi Transazionale). Roma.
  • Nov 28, 2017 – Metodi di risonanza magnetica funzionale per indagare il wellbeing: applicazioni in neuro-oncologia. Associazione Italiana di neuro-Oncologia (AINO) – XX Congresso nazionale e corso residenziale. Trento (Italia).
  • Oct 19, 2017 – Leadership and neuroscience – Leadership Advanced – SDA Bocconi - Milano
  • Sep 4, 2017 _ Neuroscience and Positive Leadership – Global Executive MBA – SDA Bocconi – Milano
  • Lug 12, 2017 – Progetto Collegamenti: tecnologie per le RSA -  Italia Longeva (Rete Nazionale di Ricerca sull’Invecchiamento e la Longevità Attiva)– Roma Italia
  • Jun 12, 14 and July 5, 2017 – Neuroscience and Negotiation – ValoreD (Milano and Roma).
  • Jan 15, 2016 – Nuove tecniche di stimolazione cognitiva. Gruppo di Ricerca Geriatrica (GRG). Brescia (Italy).
  • Dec 4, 2015 – Progetto Collegamenti. Giornata di studio su “La mente giovane dell’anziano: riserve cognitive e tecnologie”. Organizzato dalla Fondazione Marica De Vincenzi. Rovereto (TN).
Other work


• Apr 11, 2019 – Mental health tech: nuove sfide e opportunità di mercato per la ricerca. Workshop “Science Business Talk”.

• Mar 29, 2019 – Apertura della Eco-Innovation Academy. Presentato da Maurizio Melis (Radio24). Intervista sul protocollo WELL per il settore MIND.

• Mar 21, 2019 – L’arte della felicità: un colloquio tra scienza e spiritualità. Case dei Diritti, Milano, Italy

• Jan 24, 2019 - Le basi neuro-cognitive del processo creativo e le pratiche per il suo potenziamento. Istituto De Gasperi. Borgo Val Sugana (TN), Italy.

• Jan 14, 2019 – Mindfulness: allenare la propria attenzione. Liceo Sèn Jan Fassa. Trento (TN), Italy

• Jan 5, 2019 – Scienza e spiritualità. Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia (PI) Italy

• Jan 4, 2019 – Sogno lucido: teoria e tecniche. Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia (PI) Italy

• Dec 19, 2018 – Neuro-urbanistica: verso un nuovo strumento di pianificazione. Urban Regeneration Smartlab Rovereto (TN)

• Dec 5, 2018 – La cultura del BrainCare. NOVARTIS FARMA, Origgio (VA) Italy.

• Nov 27, 2018 – Come nascono le idee creative e come coltivarle. Museo Arte Moderna (MART) Rovereto (TN) Italia

• Sept 28, 2018 – Allenare la mente creativa. La Notte dei Ricercatori 2018. Trento (TN) Italia

• Sept 28, 2018 -  Un assaggio di mindfulness. Libro vivente per La Notte dei Ricercatori 2018. Trento (TN). Italia

• Sept 26, 2018 – Realtà ordinarie e realtà virtuali: un viaggio tra realtà, sogni e tecnologie. Poplar Festival 2018. Trento (TN) Italia

• Sep 18, 2018 – Meditazione sul luogo di lavoro. Banca Intesa, Milano (Italy)

• Jun 18, 2018 – Apprendimento e cambiamento. RANDSTAD, Milano (Italy).

• Jun 13 2018 – Brain and talent. TENOVA, Castellanza (VA) Italy

• Jun 11, 2018 – Mindfulness e cervello. GROUPAMA. Milano (Italy).

• Apr 17 2018 - Human minds and artificial minds: Changes in cognition and brain in the age of Artificial Intelligence. In LEADING IN THE NEW: Accenture Operations BPS Circle. Milano (MI), Italia.

• Apr 14 2018 – Ai confini della realtà virtuale. EDUCA 2018, Rovereto (TN), Italia

• Feb 22 2018 – Meraviglia e Trasformazione. Mida ARTLAB, Milano (Italy).

• Dec 06, 2017 - Mindfulness: allenare la propria attenzione per studiare meglio e per stare bene – Liceo Virgilio di Mantova (MN).

• Nov 20, 2017 – Mindfulness: allenare la propria attenzione per studiare meglio e per stare bene – Liceo Filzi di Rovereto.

• Oct 24, 2017 – Mind Training – Collegio Residenza dei Salesiani di Trento (Italy)

• Mag 24 2017 Dov’è il paese delle Meraviglie.  Richmond Marketing Forum. Artimino (FI).

• Apr 07 2017 – Mindfulness per il benessere – Basi neuroscientifiche e utilizzo nelle scuole. Liceo Antonio Rosmini, Rovereto (TN)

• Mar 21 2017 – Cervello e creatività – XI Settimana della Scienza – Istituti Superiori di Gallarate e Malpensa (MI)

• Nov 7-8, 2016 – Cognitive awareness and training. Pirelli School of Management. Milan (Italy)

• Nov 3, 2016 – Neuroarchitettura: la piazza (con Arch. Giuseppina Ascione). Ordine degli architetti di Trento.

• Jun 15 2016, Neuroscience for health and wellbeing. – INNOVATION IN HEALTH - Reale Mutua, Torino (italy).

• Jan 5, 2016 Neuroscienze e Architettura. PIDA (con Arch, Giuseppina Ascione) Premio Ischia di Architettura – Ischia (Italy).

• Nov 24, 2015 Neuroscienze e Active Ageing. Soluzioni innovative per introdurre un sistema avanzato di Active Ageing in azienda. Organized by The Ruling Companies Associations. Milano (Italy).

• Nov 11-12, 2015 Meditazione e neuroscienze: aspetti teorici e pratici. Circolo Ricreativo Università di Trento. Trento (TN) Italy 

• Oct 22, 2015 - L'esercizio della consapevolezza: da Socrate alle neuroscienze. Convegno Mindfulness, Educazione e Cura, Borgo Valsugana (TN) (Italy).

• Jul 07, 2015 le neuroscienze e lo sviluppo della consapevolezza in azienda. OVS – Gruppo COIN. Organized by CFMT. Mestre (VE) Italy.

• May 11, 2015 Neuroscienze e tecnologia per il brain fitness. NEUROGYM meetings. Organized by URLA – University of Trento (Italy).


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