Prof. Tomaso Vecchi
The Cognitive Psychology Unit aims to study the relationship between mind, brain and behavior through the investigation of higher cognitive functions. A particular area of interest is the study of memory and mental representation (imagery) processes. Mental representations, also in relation to mnemonic and perceptual processes, are studied by comparing the trajectories of normal and pathological development of visual-sensory processes, and thus by considering situations such as blindness, low vision and monocular vision. Insights drawn from these studies make it possible to address more general issues such as the nature of supramodal cognitive processes, and neural and cognitive plasticity, using both behavioral and neurostimulation techniques (TMS and tDCS).
In recent years our research has focused on analysis of the relationship between memory mechanisms and prediction processes. The integration of neurophysiological and behavioral data is suggesting possible new models of interpretation, both ontogenetic and phylogenetic, of mnemonic processes. In this theoretical framework, the cerebellum, being the organ most linked to predictive processes, could have a particularly important role. What is memory? What is it for? Where is it located in the brain? These are the key questions addressed by the current and future research programs carried out by this unit.