Marco Dante Plinio Tettamanti

Via delle Regole, 101 - 38060 Mattarello
tel. 0461 283077
marco.tettamanti-1[at]unitn [dot] it

2017: “Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale come Professore di I fascia nel settore concorsuale 11/E1”, corresponding to the Full Professor level. The habilitation has validity until April 10, 2023.

2014: "Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale come Professore di II fascia nel settore concorsuale 11/E1”, corresponding to the Associate Professor level. The habilitation has validity until February 25, 2020.

2000-2004: PhD In Neuroscience (Dr. sc. nat.), Natural Sciences Faculty, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Supervisors: Dorothea Weniger, Ruediger Wehner, Stanislas Dehaene.

1997-2000: Training and Mobility of Researchers (EU-FP4) Grant Fellow, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy. Supervisor: Daniela Perani.

1996: Degree in Molecular Biology and Neurobiology (Biologie II), University of Basel, Switzerland. Supervisors: Heinrich Reichert, John. G. Nicholls.

Carriera accademica ed attività didattica

Research positions

2018-present: Associate Professor in Psychobiology and Psychophysiology, CIMeC - Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.

2006-2018: Tenured full-time IRCCS research fellow, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy.

2003-2006: Tenure-track full-time IRCCS research fellow, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy.
2000-2003: Research fellow, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano. Italy. Supervisors: Daniela Perani, Stefano Cappa.



2011-present: Visiting Lecturer at the MSc in Clinical Neurosciences. Catholic University of Milan & Brescia, Italy.

2007 and 2009: Visiting Lecturer at the MSc in Human Cognitive Neuropsychology, Edinburgh University, U.K.

2005-2015: Contract Professor at the Faculty of Psychology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milano, Italy. Courses in “Cognitive Neuropsychology” (2005-2006), “Neurobiology of Memory (2006-2010)”. Course modules in “Experimental Psychology: Neuroimaging” (2011-2013), “Exp. Psy. Neuroim.: Excercises (2013-2015), “Neurobiology of Language: Exercises” (2009-2010), “Neurobiology of Language: Excercises” (2013-2015).

2001-2002, 2012-2017: Contract Professor for the Degree Programme in Physiotherapy, Medicine Faculty, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milano, Italy. Course modules in “Neurophysiology of cognitive processes” and “Neurolinguistics”.

Interessi di ricerca


Language, Neurolinguistics, Grounded Cognition and Neuroimaging


Specific Topics

My research is mainly focused on the neurobiology of language. I combine theoretical linguistics, psycholinguistics, psychophysics, and neuropsychological methods with multimodal neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, sMRI, DWI, EEG, TMS) to understand the neural mechanisms underlying normal and pathological language functions and language development.
I employ advanced neuroimaging data analysis methods, leveraging on data fusion, univariate and multivariate approaches, and structural and functional connectivity.


Current research directions

Recursive hierarchical syntactic structures: What are the underlying neurocomputational mechanisms? Are these mechanisms shared across cognitive domains (language, music, action)?

Representative publications:

Tettamanti, M., Alkadhi, H., Moro, A., Perani, D., Kollias, S., & Weniger, D. (2002). Neural correlates for the acquisition of natural language syntax. Neuroimage, 17, 700–709.
Tettamanti, M., Rotondi, I., Perani, D., Scotti, G., Fazio, F., Cappa, S. F., & Moro, A. (2009). Syntax without language: neurobiological evidence for cross-domain syntactic computations. Cortex, 45(7), 825–838.
Tettamanti, Marco, & Moro, A. (2012). Can syntax appear in a mirror (system)? Cortex, 48(7), 923–935.
Tettamanti, Marco, & Perani, D. (2012). The neurobiology of structure-dependency in natural language grammar. In M. Faust (Ed.), Handbook of the Neuropsychology of Language (1st ed., Vol. 1, pp. 229–251). Wiley-Blackwell.


Concepts as grounded in personal experience: How are concepts, semantic features and semantic categories represented in the brain? What is the role of individual life-time experience in concept formation? Are grounded conceptual representations accessed independently of stimulus awareness?

Representative publications:

Tettamanti, M., Buccino, G., Saccuman, M. C., Gallese, V., Danna, M., Scifo, P., … Perani, D. (2005). Listening to action-related sentences activates fronto-parietal motor circuits. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17(2), 273–281.
Ghio, M., & Tettamanti, M. (2016). Grounding Sentence Processing in the Sensory-Motor System. In G. Hickok & S. L. Small (Eds.), Neurobiology of Language (1 edition, pp. 647–657). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Academic Press. Retrieved from
Ghio, M., Vaghi, M. M. S., Perani, D., & Tettamanti, M. (2016). Decoding the neural representation of fine-grained conceptual categories. Neuroimage, 132, 93–103.
Tettamanti, Marco, Conca, F., Falini, A., & Perani, D. (2017). Unaware Processing of Tools in the Neural System for Object-Directed Action Representation. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(44), 10712–10724.


Syntax-semantic interface: What are the neural mechanisms of sentential negation? How are grounded conceptual representations modulated by sentential negation? How does the spatio-temporal integration of syntactic and semantic information unfold during language processing?

Representative publications:

Tettamanti, M., Manenti, R., Rosa, P. A. D., Falini, A., Perani, D., Cappa, S. F., & Moro, A. (2008). Negation in the brain: modulating action representations. Neuroimage, 43(2), 358–367.
Alemanno, F., Houdayer, E., Cursi, M., Velikova, S., Tettamanti, M., Comi, G., … Leocani, L. (2012). Action-related semantic content and negation polarity modulate motor areas during sentence reading: An event-related desynchronization study. Brain Research, 1484(0), 39–49.
Bartoli, E., Tettamanti, A., Farronato, P., Caporizzo, A., Moro, A., Gatti, R., … Tettamanti, M. (2013). The disembodiment effect of negation: negating action-related sentences attenuates their interference on congruent upper limb movements. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109(7), 1782–1792.
Ghio, M., Haegert, K., Vaghi, M. M., & Tettamanti, M. (2018). Sentential negation of abstract and concrete conceptual categories: a brain decoding multivariate pattern analysis study. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 373(1752), 20170124.


Narrative language processing: How are phonological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic informations integrated during natural speech processing? Can we delineate a neurolinguistic grammar based on fMRI and EEG measurements?


Neurodevelopmental readiness for language: What are the early brain maturation processes that uderlie language acquisition? Does knowledge of these early processes inform the prediction of normal versus impaired language development?

Attività di ricerca

Editorial activity

2012-present   Frontiers in Psychology (Review Editor)   


Ad-hoc Journal Reviewing


    • Advances in Cognitive Psychology
    • Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
    • Biolinguistics
    • Brain and Cognition
    • Brain and Language
    • Brain Research
    • Brain Research Bulletin
    • Brain Topography
    • Cerebral Cortex
    • Cognition
    • Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience
    • Cortex (Certificate of Reviewing Excellence 2013)
    • Experimental Brain Research
    • Frontiers in Bioscience
    • Frontiers in Psychology
    • Giornale Italiano di Psicologia
    • Human Brain Mapping
    • Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
    • Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
    • Journal of Neurolinguistics
    • Journal of Neuroscience
    • Language and Cognition
    • Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
    • Memory and Cognition
    • MIT Press, Linguistics and Language Section
    • NeuroImage
    • Neuropsychologia
    • PloS ONE
    • Psychological Science
    • Scientific Reports
    • Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience


Grant review panels

     • German Research Foundation (DFG), Germany.

     • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany.

     • Israel Science Foundation (ISF), Israel.


University service

  • 2010-present: Faculty member of the PhD Programme in Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy of the Mind, IUSS, Pavia, Italy.

  • 2018-present: Faculty member of the International PhD Programme in Cognitive Neuroscience, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.

  • 2015-2016: Committee Member for 1 PhD Thesis, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, Italy.

  • 2017: Committee Member for 1 Habilitation Thesis, University of Poitiers, France.



    • 1997-2000: Training and Mobility of Researchers (TMR) Grant of the European Community (EU-FP4) through the Swiss National Science Foundation (id. 83EU-050204). Role: principal investigator.
    • 2003-2004: Italian Ministry of University and Research (id. FIRB 2003119330-009). Role: collaborator.
    • 2005-2006: Italian Ministry of University and Research (id. FIRB 2005119758-001). Role: collaborator.
    • 2006-2009: Tuning the Brain for Music (BRAINTUNING, id. 28570, Funding: STREP, FP6-2004-NEST-PATH-IMP, European Community). Role: collaborator.
    • 2006-2008: A fMRI and genetic study of cerebral responses to social-emotional stimuli in children followed-up for social shyness (NARSAD Independent Investigator Award). Role: fMRI team leader.
    • 2006-2010: The Origins, Representation and Use of Abstract Concepts (ABSTRACT, id. 28714, STREP, FP6-2004-NEST-PATH-HUM, European Community). Role: collaborator.
    • 2008-2010: The neural correlates of ambiguity processing (id. PBZHP1-123315, Swiss National Science Foundation). Role: scientific supervisor.
    • 2014-2015: The neural bases of corporeal awareness (id. PRIN 2010ENPRYE_2006, Italian Ministry of University and Research). Role: collaborator.
    • 2016-2018: Aspects of language variability: Socio-pragmatics and typology (id. 2016-PISASNS-0003599, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy). Role: collaborator.

Appartenenza a società e comitati scientifici

    • 2015-present: Elected member of the International Neuropsychology Symposium (
    • 2017-present: member of the Centre for Neurolinguistics and Psycholinguistics, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milano, Italy (

Convegni e conferenze

Conference presentations (since 2012)

    • Romero Lauro L.J., Mattavelli G., Papagno C., Tettamanti M. Sensorimotor Representation for Motion Verbs in Literal vs Figurative Context: A fMRI Study. Abstract presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Aphasia, Procedia: Social & Behavioral Sciences 61: 224-225 (2012).
    • Albertini S., Tettamanti M., Moro A. Sintassi e working memory: un nuovo paradigma di valutazione. In Atti del Convengno, AISC 2013 (Vol. 2, pp. 23–28). Napoli, Italy: Giornale Italiano di Neuroscienze, Psicologia e Riabilitazione (2013).
    • Ghio M., Vaghi M.M.S., Tettamanti M. fMRI mapping and decoding of fine-grained categories across abstract and concrete semantic domains. Abstract presented at the 20th Annual HBM Conference (2014).
    • Zapparoli L., Tettamanti M., Porta M., Zerbi A., Servello D., Banfi G., Paulesu E. A push-pull cortico-subcortical effective connectivity pattern in Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome: an fMRI Dynamic Causal Modelling study. Abstract presented at the 1st World Congress on Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders, London, UK (2015).
    • Muzzarelli L., Tettamanti M., Taddei M., Battaglia M. The emotional processing network at the onset of social anxiety disorder: a combined diffusion tensor imaging and functional connectivity study. Abstract presented at the 29th ECNP Congress, Vienna. European Neuropsychopharmacology 26 (Suppl. 2) s328-s329 (2016).
    • Conca F., Tettamanti M., Pearni D. Unaware processing in the neural system for action representation: evidence from a fMRI study. European Workshop on Cognitive Neuropsychology 2017, Brixen, January 2017.


Invited talks (since 2012)

    • Tettamanti M. Embodiment versus Disembodiment: conceptual-semantic representations and their modulation by syntactic negation. IUSS, Pavia, Italy, May 21, 2013.
    • Tettamanti M. Embodiment versus Disembodiment: conceptual-semantic representations and their modulation by syntactic negation. IGSN Symposium “Action semantics in the Brain”, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany , December 2, 2013.
    • Tettamanti M. An introduction to Dynamic Causal Modelling / Testing competing models with Dynamic Causal Modelling. University Milan-Bicocca, Italy, December 9 and 16, 2013.
    • Tettamanti M. Embodiment versus Disembodiment: conceptual-semantic representations and their modulation by syntactic negation. AISC 2015 Conference, Roma, Italy, December 5, 2014.
    • Tettamanti M. Experience-grounded conceptual-semantic representations and their modulation by linguistic context. MODELACT 2015 Workshop, Firenze, Italy, June 11, 2015.
    • Tettamanti M. Experience-grounded conceptual-semantic representations and their modulation by linguistic context. Colloquium of the Psychology Department, University of Dusseldorf, Germany, February 9, 2016.
    • Tettamanti M. Artificial Grammars as a formal account to study language processing, development, and evolution: a general overview. IUSS, Pavia, Italy, July 14, 2016.
    • Tettamanti M. Functional Connectivity. Federation European Societies Neuropsychology, Berlin, September 1, 2016.
    • Tettamanti M. Conceptual semantics as grounded in personal experience. San Raffaele Spring School of Philosophy 2017, Milan, May 24, 2017.
    • Tettamanti M. Semantics as grounded in sensorimotor and personal experience. Humanitas Research Hospital and University, Milan, June 27, 2017.
    • Tettamanti M. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and its applications to the cognitive neuroscience of language, Institute Codas Thompson, Asunción, Paraguay, May 3, 2018.
    • Tettamanti M. Brain dynamics for linguistic context processing: neuroimaging evidence, 2018 Conference, Pavia, Italy, May 31.

Altre attività

Community service

    • Tettamanti M. Il linguaggio: Le recenti scoperte nel campo della neurobiologia. TV interview on Radiotelevisione Svizzera, broadcasted on April 27, 2014 (
    • Tettamanti M. Settimana del Cervello: i progressi fatti nell’ambito della ricerca sul cervello. Radio interview on Radiotelevisione Svizzera, broadcasted on March 17, 2015 (
    • Tettamanti M. Studioso di cervello e linguaggio nella Milano dell'Expo. Radio interview on Radiotelevisione Svizzera, broadcasted on April 30, 2015 (
    •, November 25, 2017: Il cervello pianifica in modo automatico le azioni su alcuni oggetti.