My background is the one of an experimental psychologist that focused mainly on neuroimaging (particularly fMRI) techniques. I carried out my PhD at the Cognitive Neuroscience Sector of the, International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA/ISAS) under the supervision of Prof. Raffaella I. Rumiati on a project aimed at mapping the neural substrates of body representations. This research demonstrated how body information is not necessarily mediated by a representation of one’s own body, but could also be associated with alternative models, such as those derived by visual experience of others.
I pursued and extended this line or research during my previous post-doctoral experiences, both at SISSA/ISAS and at the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine of the Jülich Research Centre (Germany) with Prof. Gereon R. Fink. During this time, I focused my attention on the neural mechanism underlying the processing of the Self and Others in the domain of motor action, linguistic processing and high-level decision-making.
I am currently working at the Swiss Centre for Affective Science in Geneva (Switzerland), with Prof Patrik Vuilleumier. In this environment, I extended my earlier interests developed on body and motor representations in the domain of affective, and in particular painful, experiences. In particular, I am investigating whether, and to which extend, neural structures involved in mediating first-hand experiences of pain play also a role in processing events of high social relevance, such as our appraisal of people’s states, and even economic decision-making.