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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 traditional experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Students will attend multiple courses, including fundamentals in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, behavioral and social neuroscience, neuropsychology, psychophysiology, neural basis of perception, neural basis of consciousness, philosophy of science, critical thinking, structural and functional neuroimaging, and basic/advanced methods for data analysis. In particular, the CCSN track is designed to train researchers who will contribute to knowledge in areas such as perception and multisensory integration, supramodality and cross-modal plasticity; sleep and consciousness; action recognition and motor control; neuroplasticity and learning; organization of semantic concepts; psycholinguistics; emotion and social cognition; social and antisocial behavior; 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 neuroimaging (mainly structural and functional MRI) electrophysiology (EEG, MEG and non-invasive brain stimulation) techniques will address research and clinical applications and their use in human subjects.

Within the interdisciplinary orientation of the IMT School, students will be exposed to seminars and conjoint research projects on different topics, ranging from molecular neurobiology of human behavior 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 and robotics 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, cognitive science, medicine, bio-engineering, bionics, physics and mathematics, computer sciences, linguistics, philosophy and logics 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.

According to our placement scores, 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

All the Research Units contribute to the track. Most of the experimental activities overlap with the research activities of MoMiLab.

The students will have access to the Multidisciplinary Lab (equipped for EEG, psychophysics and psychophysiology measures) and the Neuroscience Lab (the conjoint research lab with Innovation Center Intesa Sanpaolo) at IMT School, to the Thematic laboratory for research on sleep, wakefulness and their mutual interactions (equipped for polysomnographic measures at the Fondazione Toscana ‘Gabriele Monasterio’ in Pisa) and to external MRI facilities (scanner from 1.5T to 7T are available in Pisa and Massa).

Ph.D. students will also have the opportunity to be involved in collaborative research programs with national and international institutions, including the Piaggio Research Center at the University of Pisa, the Fondazione Toscana ‘Gabriele Monasterio’ in Pisa, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, the University of Siena, the Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Pavia, the Department of Philosophy at the University of Milan, the Department of Psychology at the University of Turin, the Department of Psychology at the University of Padua, the CIMeC – Center for Mind/Brain Sciences in Rovereto, the Center for Consciousness and Sleep at the University of Wisconsin, the Institute of Psychology & Institute of Neuroscience - the University of Louvain, the Massachusetts Eye & Ear of the Harvard Medical School and the Center for Investigation and Research on Sleep of Lausanne University Hospital.

The descriptions of some examples of active projects and research themes are available here below. The track is nonetheless interested in accepting research projects and themes proposed by candidates other than those described and, in general, in identifying with the students the research themes that best suit their skills and interests.

PDF icon CCSN Web Flyer325.51 KB
PDF icon Profile Proposals363.19 KB