Laboratory of Social Neuroscience and Comparative Development
(PI: Pier Francesco Ferrari)
The team focus is on the neural bases of social behavior and emotions, and the related psychological and developmental processes in human and nonhuman primates.
The objective of the neurophysiological studies is to understand the role of premotor and parietal neurons in higher cognitive functions such as action/emotion understanding and imitation. In more recent years interests have been focused on the plasticity of the motor system during learning. The question addressed by the developmental project is to understand how early social experiences support infant’s social development and how early life’s adversity might interfere with brain mechanisms involved in the emergence of such skills.
The neurochemical modulation of these early interactions (e.g. oxytocin) is one of the research lines pursuit by the team. The research lines take advantage of several approaches: depth multielectrode recordings of single neurons, multiunit and LFP, high-density EEG, wireless neuronal recordings, Tobii automated eye-tracking.