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PhD Program in Cognitive and Cultural Systems

PhD Program in Cognitive and Cultural Systems

PhD Coordinator: Maria Luisa Catoni

PhD Program Overview

The PhD Program in Cognitive and Cultural Systems unites disciplines that have been carefully selected for their ability to provide the necessary cultural, methodological and instrumental know-hows for the analysis of complex social, cognitive, psychological and cultural systems. It is truly a unique PhD Program thanks to its common topics of study that consist of cognitive, cultural and social systems.

The Program proposes a distinction in three Tracks on the basis of the methodologies applicable to the study of the brain, perception, mind, knowledge organization, behaviors, human activities and productions, as well as their material and symbolic functions and representations, objects and spaces. This shared field of study that the three Tracks look at through diverse but complementary methodological, analytical and technical lenses, includes: conceptual representation against neurobiological and cultural backdrops; the contextual and multidisciplinary study of objects, images and spaces within defined historical, political, social ideological, economic, legal and cultural contexts; the study of the perception of and the interaction with the external world; the study of the reception of images and forms from a historical-cultural and neuroscientific point of view; the contextual study of cultural heritage in its multiple dimensions; the study of institution building through cultural heritage and the role of cultural heritage as an instrument of cultural diplomacy. It deals with, hence, relevant themes in a long-term perspective.

The principal educational goal of the Program is that of providing students with a mastery of methodological tools and advanced techniques for neurosciences and for the analysis and management of cultural heritage, of cultural phenomena and their multiple impacts, with a focus on museums and museums studies. This Program is characterized by its interdisciplinary nature and by its innovative approach that, beyond training students in the specific areas of neuroscience and cultural heritage, deals with the study of the relation between historical-contextual analyses (including aesthetic and artistic analyses) and neuroscientific analyses and the study of the complex system made up by behaviors, activities and human productions from perspectives and with instruments that are both complementary and integrated.

The Program is made up of three Tracks and, in the spirit of the School, integrates academic excellence with an interdisciplinary vocation.

The Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage (AMCH) Track offers different tools for the analysis of cultural heritage, i.e., archaeology, art history, administrative law, philosophy, history, management science and new technologies.

The Museum Studies (MUST) Track, established in partnership with some of the main Italian museums and cultural institutions, offers different tools for the analysis of museums and related issues, such as object display, curatorship, temporary and permanent exhibitions.

The Cognitive, Computational and Social Neurosciences (CCSN) Track integrates a basic neuroscience training with the study of mental activities and cognitive functions in neuropsychological, psycholinguistic, computational, social, philosophical, logical and educational domains.

Input and output profiles

Candidates with a solid background in psychology, neuroscience, medicine, biology, physics, bio-engineering, archaeology, art history, law, history, philosophy and logics, computer sciences and social sciences.

In line with the strong intersections and didactic and experimental integration of the School, the CCSN Track aims to offer a broad educational background to pursuing an academic career and experimental research, and to open up new labor markets that increasingly turn to transverse figures. Likewise, the AMCH and MUST Track aim to offer a strong multidisciplinary background to provide an access to the academic career or in the institutions.


Scientific Board

  • Prof. Maria Luisa Catoni (Full Professor of Ancient Art History and Archaeology, IMT School)
  • Prof. Andrea Averardi (Associate Professor in Administrative Law, IMT School)
  • Prof. Giulio Bernardi (Associate Professor in General Psychology, IMT School)
  • Prof. Linda Bertelli (Associate Professor in Visual Studies of Science, IMT School)
  • Prof. Amos Bertolacci (Full Professor of History of Mediaeval Philosophy, IMT School)
  • Prof. Ruth Bielfeldt (Professor of Classical Archaeology, LMU München)
  • Prof. Ennio Bilancini (Full Professor of Political Economy, IMT School)
  • Dr. Luca Cecchetti (Assistant Professor in General Psychology, IMT School)
  • Prof. Gustavo Cevolani (Associate Professor in Logic and Philosophy of Science, IMT School)
  • Prof. Chiara Cirelli (Professor of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin)
  • Prof. Chiara Franceschini (Professor of Early Modern Art History, LMU München)
  • Prof. Andrea Mechelli (Professor of  Early Intervention in Mental Health, King's College London)
  • Prof. Peter Neri (Professor of Biological Sciences, École Normale Supérieure, Paris)
  • Dr. Riccardo Olivito (Assistant Professor in Classical Archaeology, IMT School)
  • Prof. Emanuele Pellegrini (Associate Professor of Art History, IMT School)
  • Prof. Pietro Pietrini (Full Professor of Clinical Bichemistry and Molecular Biology, IMT School)
  • Dr. Alessandro Poggio (Assistant Professor in Classical Archaeology, IMT School)
  • Prof. Giulia Puma (Maîtresse de conférences, CNRS Nice)
  • Prof. Massimo Riccaboni (Full Professor of Economics and Management, IMT School)
  • Prof. Emiliano Ricciardi (Full Professor in Psychobiology and Psychophysiology, IMT School)