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Cognitive Neuroscience Lab IUSS-Maugeri

The Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience IUSS-Maugeri takes a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the neural bases of healthy or pathological human behavior with several research techniques applied to different populations. Neuroimaging studies with 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are performed in collaboration with the Diagnostic Imaging Service of the IRCCS Maugeri. The resulting data are complementary to those obtained with other methods which are used to study the neurophysiological bases of cognitive processing. In particular, the laboratory is equipped with a Faraday-cage shielded silent cabin hosting instruments for:

  • transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS Magstim with Softtaxic-Polaris Vicra neuronavigation);
  • high definition transcranial electrical stimulation (5 Brainstim stimulators for HD-tES), with adapters for stimulation within the MRI scanner;
  • High density EEG (128 channels with active g.Tec electrodes; 64 channels with passive electrodes for TMS-EEG);
  • electromyography (4-channel Biopac MP36 with Acknowledge software);
  • mobile eye-tracking (PupilLabs worldcamera + eye cameras; Eyelink 2000 Hz in collaboration with other IUSS groups);
  • galvanic conductance (g.Tec);
  • motion detection (LeapMotion).

These techniques are used to study the neural correlates of different cognitive processes, in particular decision-making (neuroeconomics), social cognition (affective and social neuroscience). In line with the embodied cognition paradigm, another research line concerns the role of the motor system both in these processes and in linguistic processing. The neurophysiological bases of these processes are studied in both healthy and pathological populations, e.g. chronic pain, sleep disorders and other neuro-psychiatric disorders. The activity of the laboratory is based on the assumption that a real advancement of knowledge in cognitive neuroscience requires a continuous integration between correlational data produced by neuroimaging methods and the causal evidence provided by the study of alterations resulting from brain damage or neuromodulation with TMS or tDCS.
The members of the laboratory are specialized in all phases of research in cognitive and clinical neuroscience, from the definition of the experimental design to the collection and analysis of data. In the case of neuroimaging studies with MRI or EEG, one area of interest is the study of brain activity and connectivity, both at rest and during sensory/cognitive/motor tasks. This typically involves the study of the neuro-structural basis of individual differences in different cognitive abilities (under normal or pathological conditions), using advanced techniques for the study of structural and functional connectivity.
The scientific activity of the Laboratory, which is located within the ICS Maugeri IRCCS in Pavia, is based on the collaboration between different laboratories/services of ICS Maugeri and IUSS researchers, who contribute with different competences in cognitive neurosciences (neuroimaging, neuro-modulation, neuropsychology).
The main research lines pursued at the IUSS-Maugeri Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory are described here.


Nicola Canessa (Full Professor of neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience - PSIC-01/B, IUSS, Laboratory Head)

Giulia Mattavelli (Associate Professor of neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience - PSIC-01/B, IUSS, Cognitive Neurosciences M-PSI/02)

Claudia Gianelli (IUSS Research Fellow in General Psychology PSIC-O1/A)

Sara Lo Presti (IUSS PhD student in 

ICS Maugeri neuroradiologists for magnetic resonance imaging studies.

Collaborations: Gianpaolo Basso  (Associate Professor University of Milan-Bicocca, Neuroradiology MED/37).


Parte dell’attività di ricerca è svolta in collaborazione con altri laboratori o istituzioni scientifiche nazionali o internazionali, ad es.:

  • University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan
  • IRCCS Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy
  • Division of Neuroscience, IRCCS San Raffaele Research Institute, Milan, Italy
  • IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Besta, Milan, Italy
  • Management and Technology Department, Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
  • Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH Zürich)
  • Neurolinguistics laboratory, National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), Moscow