Experimental psychology


Group leader

Claudio de'Sperati


The Unit investigates the neuro-cognitive mechanisms of sensori-motor functions, particularly the visual and tactile systems. Research activity relies on a variety of approaches: psychophysiological (based on physiological and electroencephalographic responses), psychophysical (based on the measure of sensations), behavioral (based on the measure of motor activity), neuroimaging (based on fMRI techniques) and phenomenological (based on subjective experience). Basic research, which is the main mission of the Experimental Psychology Unit, is regarded also as a starting point to develop technologies and advanced quantitative methods for clinical diagnosis in psychology, neurology, neuroradiology, neuro-ophtalmology and psychiatry. The Unit is based on the Laboratory of Action, Perception and Cognition (Lapco).

Research activity

Visual perception and visual cognition       
  • Basic vision (textures) and visual illusions
  • Motion perception
  • The perception of temporal flow
  • Visual self-agency and self-awareness
  • History of psychology of perception
Eye movements and attention       
  • Real-time attention tracking
  • Oculomotor and attentional correlates of mental imagery
  • Interactive displays
  • Oculomotor patterns in pathologies of the visual system
  • Haptic sense and manipulation activity
Fine motor skills and manual dexterity
  • Analysis of grasps and prehension strategies
  • Force and movement perception, kinaesthesia
  • Space perception (in absence of vision)
Cortical visual processing
  • Dynamic cortical visual responsiveness as assessed through SSVEPs
  • Cortical Plasticity in patients affected by retinal diseases (fMRI and DTI)
  • Development of the visual system in infants (fMRI and DTI)
  • Pathologies of the cortico-spinal tract and its endings (DTI)
Sensori-motor interactions
  • Pupillometry in ALS patients
  • Sensory-motor development
  • Technologies for sensory-motor assessment