David Paul Melcher

Corso Bettini, 31 - 38068 Rovereto
tel. 0464 808665
david.melcher[at]unitn [dot] it
Area CUN: Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche (11)
Settore scientifico disciplinare: PSICOLOGIA GENERALE (M-PSI/01)


2001 PhD in Psychology, Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA)

1998 MSc in Psychology, Rutgers University

1994 BA (Magna Cum Laude), Transylvania University (Kentucky,USA)

Carriera accademica ed attività didattica

12/2006- Associate Professor (Professore Associato), Trento University

09/2003- Associate Professor (Principal Lecturer), Oxford Brookes University

03/2006- Visiting Fellow, College de France (Paris, France)

02/2005- Research Fellow, Oxford University

09/2001- Research Fellow, San Raffaele University (Milan, Italy)

09/2002- Professore a contratto, San Raffaele University (fixed contract) 08/2003 Courses taught: Psicometria (in Italian)

01/2002- Adjunct Professor, New York University (Florence, Italy)
04/2003 Courses taught: Cognition

09/1995- Part-time Lecturer, Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA)
04/2001 Courses taught: Memory and Cognition, Intro to Cognitive Science, Sensation and Perception

Interessi di ricerca

see: http://r.unitn.it/en/cimec/map

The interaction of cognition, perception and action. Visual memory and trans-saccadic perception. Selective attention. Art and the senses.

Attività di ricerca

see: http://r.unitn.it/en/cimec/map

My main research interest is the interaction between attention, perception, memory and action in guiding our subjective experience and our behaviors. At present, my research focuses mainly on two large projects. The first is an ERC funded project on how the brain combines sensory input over space and over time in creating a useful and stable percept of the environment. The second project involves a collaboration with colleagues at the CIMeC and CIBIO at the University of Trento, as well as at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Massachussets General Hospital (MGH Harvard) on a project to "Characterize and improve brain mechanisms of attention." In addition to coordinating the project, my part of the grant focuses on how to apply ideas and models from the study of selective attention to the phenomenon of social/shared/joint attention when two or more people are both participating in a particular task. 

Research in the Melcher Active Perception Lab (MAPLab) mainly involves behavioral, eyetracking and neuroimaging studies of human cognition in adult volunteers. We are also collaborating on projects involving clinical patients and participants diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 


Appartenenza a società e comitati scientifici

see: http://r.unitn.it/en/cimec/map

Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Vision (2013-2018; 2018-2022)

Member of the Editorial Board of Perception and the journal iPerception (2016-present)

Dissertation examination committee member for San Raffaele University (2010) and Umea University (2007)

Guest editor, special issue on “Visual stability” for the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, scheduled for publication in January 2011.

Co-editor of the book Art and the Senses (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Co-organizer of the Rovereto Attention Workshops, October 2008 and October 2009.

Grant reviewer for BBSRC (2009, 2010), Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (2009), Royal Society of New Zealand (2005, 2006), RNID (2004) and the National Institute of Mental Health (2002).

Co-organiser of the symposium “Making Sense of Art, Making Art of Sense”, Oxford University, 27-29 October, 2006. Co-editor of the book Art and the Senses resulting from the conference papers (Oxford University Press). An accompanying art exhibition will take place in Oxford and travel afterwards to London.

Co-organiser of the symposium “Piero della Francesca’s Vision: A Dialogue Between Art and Science” (Arezzo, Italy, 2007). This is a satellite meeting linked with the European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) and the unveiling of the newly restored “Legend of the true cross” fresco cycle.

Member of the scientific committee of the European Conference on Visual Perception (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2014-2017).

Member of the Program Committee, 6th International workshop on Attention in Cognitive Systems (ISACS 2013), in conjunction with IJCAI 2013.

Member of the Program Committee for CEA 2013 (International Conference on Cognition, Emotion and Action), IIT Gandhinagar, India.

Grant reviewer for the European Research Council (2015), Research Foundation Flanders (2014, 2015), MIUR (2012-2014), Agence Nationale de la Ricerche (2012), ATIP-Avenir France (2018), Trieste University (2012), Israel Science Foundation (2011), National Science Foundation NSF (2008, 2009), BBSRC (2009, 2010), Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (2009), Royal Society of New Zealand (2005, 2006), RNID (2004) and the National Institute of Mental Health (2002).

Ad-hoc reviewer of articles for: Cerebral Cortex, Cognition, Cortex, Current Biology, Experimental Brain Research, Frontiers in Psychology, J. Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, J. Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Perception, J. Neuroscience, J. Vision, Memory and Cognition, Perception, Perception & Psychophysics, PloS One, PNAS, Psychological Science, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Spatial Vision, Vision Research, Visual Cognition. 

Premi e riconoscimenti

for updated version, please see: http://r.unitn.it/en/cimec/map

European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant (2013-2017): "Construction of Perceptual Space-time" (CoPeST).

Province of Trento "Grand Project Grant" (2013-2015): "Characterizing and Improving Brain Mechanisms of Attention" (ATTEND)

Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Perception/Motor Performance), American Psychological Association (2011)

Fondazione CARITRO, Bando 2010, project "Capolavori della mente: creativita', cognizione ed emozione nelle opere delle collezioni MART" (Scientific coordinator of the project)

PRIN 2009, Ministero dell’Universita’ e della Ricerca (2011-2013)
Title: Perceiving spatiotemporal events across saccades

PRIN 2007, Ministero dell’Universita’ e della Ricerca (2008-2010)
Title: Cambiamenti predittivi delle caratteristiche percepite degli stimoli visivi prima delle saccadi

British Academy (2005-2008)
Title: Mechanisms and locus of implicit attentional selection

The Wellcome Trust (2007)
Title: Art and the Senses project

Quest International (2006)
Funding for conference “Making Art of Sense, Making Sense of Art”
awarded to F. Bacci & D. Melcher

Institute for Historical and Cultural Research, Oxford Brookes (2005-2006)
Funding for conference “Making Art of Sense, Making Sense of Art”

RNID (2004-2006)
Title: Using deaf children’s visual skills to promote mathematics learning: An early intervention project
awarded to T. Nunes, P. Bryant & D. Melcher

Higher Education Funding Council (2005-2006)
Promising Researcher Fellowship

Royal Society (2004-2005)
Title: Behavioural effects of suppressed and unattended information

British Academy (2004-2005)
Title: The duration of visual attributes of natural scenes

National Institutes of Health (2003)
F32 Research Fellowship

National Institutes of Health (1999-2001)
NRSA Fellowship


Convegni e conferenze

Invited talks at universities and research centers including Tsinghua, Beijing Normal, Hong Kong and Kunming Universities (China), College de France, INSERM Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit Paris and Renee Descartes University Paris (France), Humboldt University Berlin, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Ludwig-Maxmilians University Munich, Muenster and Regensburg Universities (Germany), PPKE and Semmelweis Universities (Hungary), Banaras and Hyderabad Universities (India), Bocconi, Parma, Pisa and San Raffaele Universities (Italy), Riken Brain Institute and Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour//Radboud University (Netherlands), Umea University (Sweden), Bristol, Dundee, Kingston University London, Oxford, Royal Holloway and University College London (United Kingdom), Brown, Harvard, Rutgers, University of South Florida and University of Massachusetts-Boston (United States), and Hanoi University of Technology (Vietnam). Invited speaker at the meeting on the “Trentino system of higher education and research” at the European Parliament (2012), the Festival della Scienza (Genova, 2014) and the “Wired Next Fest” (Milan, 2016).

Interviewed for National Public Radio program “Morning Edition” (US), New Scientist magazine, Airone magazine, Internazionale magazine, Italian Radio 24, Italian television channels RAI2 (national news story) and RAI3 (E se domani science show), and for numerous stories in newspapers including Il Messagero, Il Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, La Stampa, L’Adige and Il Trentino

Altre attività

Coordinator of the International Masters in Cognitive Science (2009 - 2014)

Head of the Doctoral School in Cognitive and Brain Sciences (2010 - 2013)

Coordinator of the India-Trento Advanced Research Program (ITPAR) in Cognitive Neuroscience (2008 - 2017)

Local Coodinator, Erasmus Mundus Action 2 Programme (2011-2013) on Academic Relations between Europe and Asia (AREAS) 

Visiting Professor: Harvard Summer School (2013, 2014), Bocconi University (2011, 2012), San Raffaele University (2010-2012)