My research explores sensorimotor integration: the brain’s capacity to integrate sensory input with motor processes, movements and actions. This is what permits all animals to interact with elements of the surrounding environment, such as objects, salient events or other (collaborating) individuals.
My interests span from the neurophysiology of the sensory and motor systems, particularly their interplay, to the emergence of the cognitive processes that support inter-personal coordination and collaboration. I study these topics through electrophysiology and brain stimulation methods, usually in combination with behavioural measures.
The following points summarise my research activity:
(1) I have identified a cortico-muscular mechanism – also called “cortico-muscular resonance” – that rapidly couples the cortex with body muscles in response to salient environmental events.
(2) I was the first scientist to conduct and report a dual-brain stimulation experiment. This consists of simultaneous alternating currents applied transcranially over two human brains in order to manipulate the capacity of two individuals to establish inter-personal (behavioural) coordination.
(3) I have contributed to the understanding of the neurophysiological and cognitive processes that govern inter-personal interactions, such as imitation and joint action. To this aim, I am one of the scientists who introduced the use of musical tasks as ecological yet experimentally controlled models.
(4) My interest in music also touches on other theoretically relevant issues, such as its mysterious origins and its fascinating analogies with other forms of verbal and non-verbal communication.
I originally graduated in Philosophy (BA), and later in Neuroscience (MSc and PhD). I have studied and worked in very diverse research institutes and academic departments, with focuses on physiology, computation, neuroscience, psychology and philosophy (see here).
In my view, understanding the human brain and cognition requires a multidisciplinary approach.