Prof. Zaira Cattaneo


0382 380405



Curriculum Cattaneo

  • Collaborator

    1 psychologist: Andrea Ciricugno (research fellow)

  • Location

     Building 2, Floor 3

The objective of this unit is to promote and conduct research aimed at increasing understanding of the crucial social cognitive processes underlying the adaptive behavior of individuals in the environment. Specifically, it aims to investigate the brain correlates of the main social skills, such as the ability to recognize and discriminate between basic emotions, and the ability to understand thoughts, mental states and intentions, and attribute these to others. To this end, the Unit studies patients with acquired brain abnormalities (of vascular, traumatic, neoplastic and degenerative origin), and also neurologically healthy individuals. It uses numerous experimental investigation techniques, such as behavioral paradigms, psychophysical methods and brain stimulation techniques, especially transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). These latter methods (widely used in the literature both in experimental and in clinical settings), combined with neuronavigation systems, allow the activity of specific neuronal populations to be modulated in a transient and non-invasive way, with the aim of understanding their causal involvement in certain mental functions.

The Unit is currently involved in an Italian Ministry of Health-funded “Targeted Research” (Ricerca Finalizzata 2016) project entitled “Neurocognitive underpinnings of social perception abilities in congenital and acquired cerebellar disorders: neuropsychological evaluation and treatment”. The aim of this project is to investigate the involvement of cerebellar regions in social cognitive processes with the ultimate objective of creating a virtual reality-based rehabilitation training protocol that might enhance these processes in cerebellar patients. 


Specialized equipment:

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulator (Magstim Rapid2)
  • Direct current electrical stimulator (Neuroconn)
  • Stereotactic neuronavigation system (Softaxic 3.0)