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Cognitive, Computational and Social Neurosciences (CCSN)

Director: Emiliano Ricciardi

Curriculum Overview

This research-based, multidisciplinary track focuses on cognitive, computational and social neurosciences, and integrates basic neuroscience methods with experimental psychology, psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience. Students will attend multiple courses, including fundamentals in cognitive neuroscience, behavioural and social neuroscience, neuropsychology, psychophysiology and biosignals, neural basis of perception and experience-dependent plasticity, neural basis of consciousness and sleep, philosophy of science, critical thinking, structural and functional neuroimaging, basic and advanced methods for the analysis of behavioural, psychometric and neuroimaging data, cognitive economics and experimental social sciences. In particular, the CCSN track is designed to train researchers who will contribute to knowledge in areas such as multisensory perception, supramodality and cross-modality, experience-dependent plasticity, sleep and consciousness, action representation and motor control, emotions and social behaviour, neuroplasticity and learning, knowledge organization, neurolinguistics and semantic processing, social and antisocial behaviour, decision-making processes. 

Students will specifically receive intensive practical research training in methods, experimental design, and data analysis in the laboratories of the MoMiLab research unit. An overview of human brain anatomy, neuroimaging (mainly structural and functional MRI) and electrophysiological (high-density EEG, MEG) methodologies will address research and clinical applications in humans.

Within the interdisciplinary orientation of the IMT School, students will be exposed to seminars and conjoint research projects on different topics, ranging from cognitive neuroscience of human behaviour to advanced computational methods for the analysis of complex systems, from social neuroscience to decision-making processes in economic systems, from neuro-engineering applications in bionics to complex networks, from the neural bases of perception and conceptual representation to the image analysis and management of cultural heritage.

Input and Output Profiles

Candidates with a solid background in psychology, neuroscience, medicine, bioengineer and bionics, computer sciences, philosophy and logics, linguistics, social sciences, economics are strongly encouraged to apply. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of this doctorate track, applications are anyhow welcome from any area of knowledge, including both scientific and social fields and humanities.

Graduates from this doctorate track will be able to pursue a career in research and academic institutions, as well as in the private sector.

Research Units Contributing to the Curriculum

Mainly the MOMILAB Research Unit, but all IMT Research Units contribute to the track.

The students will have access to the internal Multidisciplinary Lab (equipped for EEG, psychophysics and psychophysiology measures) and to external MRI facilities (from 1.5T to 7T – to run structural and functional protocols, or multimodal EEG-fMRI acquisitions). Brain stimulation, EEG-TMS protocols and MEG studies are typically run under agreements with partner institutions.

Ph.D. students will have also the opportunity to be involved in collaborative research programs with national and international institutions, including University of Pisa, University of Turin, University of Rome La Sapienza, University of Milan, University of Padua, Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC, Rovereto), Arizona State University-Tempe, University of Louvain, University of New Mexico- Albuquerque, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Lausanne University Hospital, University of Bristol.