Faculty of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University in the city of New York.
My research focuses on the psychological and neural mechanisms of Attention, Perception, and Mental Imagery.
In the Department, I Teach Neuroscience courses (both introductory and advanced seminars) and serve as the Director of the Neuroscience and Behavior Major.
How did I get here? After completing my Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychology and Psychophysiology at the Department of Cognitive Psychology, Sapienza, University of Rome, I became increasingly interested in the neural basis of attention and cognitive control. As part of my training, under Dr. Jin Fan’s mentorship, the Director of the Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and with a dual-appointment at the Department of Psychology, Queens College, CUNY, I have developed unimodal and crossmodal paradigms with the conceptualization of attention as an organ system consisting of specialized functions and networks in the brain.
What am I working on now? Compared to other modalities, the investigation of visual attentional functions has attracted to a greater interest in the past years, possibly due to the existence of a so called “modality dominance”, a bias towards the processing of visual stimuli to counteract the low altering effect of visual stimulation. A great extent of discoveries resulted from such focus on the visual modality but whether similar neural and behavioural mechanisms characterize also the other sensory modalities (e.g., auditory) is less clear.
My effort is currently devoted in understanding what distinguishes human imagination from perception.