Neuroscience of consciousness

From different angles, we are all passionate about the understanding of our conscious experience and the neural processes underneath such intimate phenomenon. Studying consciousness is not only about defining the object of study, but identifying the observer and decoding their viewpoint. The resolution of the mind-body problem since its early conceptions in theology and philosophy to its modern formulations in psychology and neuroscience remains a major scientific and societal challenge.
Broad scope of our research activity is contributing to, by actively shaping, this exciting field of study.

Vincenzo Romei


Vincenzo Romei

the Team


Caterina Bertini

I am an associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Bologna.

My research investigates the cognitive mechanisms and the neural correlates of visual perception, visuo-spatial attention and spatial representation both in neurologically intact individuals and patients with brain damage. My current primary interest is on the mechanisms mediating awareness in visual perception in patients with visual field defects. I am also focused on functional recovery and rehabilitation of visual disorders. To this aim, I use behavioural, neuropsychological and electrophysiological research methods.

My work is supported by projects grants from the Italian Ministry of Scientific Research and Education (MIUR).

Làdavas E, Tosatto L, Bertini C. Behavioural and functional changes in neglect after multisensory stimulation. Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2020 Jun 30:1-28. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2020.1786411. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32602783.

Bertini C, Starita F, Passamonti C, Santoro F, Zamponi N, Michelucci R, Scarpazza C. Fear-specific enhancement of tactile perception is disrupted after amygdala lesion. J Neuropsychol. 2020 Mar;14(1):165-182. doi: 10.1111/jnp.12178. Epub 2019 Feb 4. PMID: 30714317.

Grasso PA, Pietrelli M, Zanon M, Làdavas E, Bertini C. Alpha oscillations reveal implicit visual processing of motion in hemianopia. Cortex. 2020 Jan;122:81-96. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2018.08.009. Epub 2018 Aug 27. PMID: 30245199.

Pietrelli M, Zanon M, Làdavas E, Grasso PA, Romei V, Bertini C. Posterior brain lesions selectively alter alpha oscillatory activity and predict visual performance in hemianopic patients. Cortex. 2019 Dec;121:347-361. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2019.09.008. Epub 2019 Oct 4. PMID: 31675675.

Bertini C, Cecere R, Làdavas E. Unseen fearful faces facilitate visual discrimination in the intact field. Neuropsychologia. 2019 May;128:58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.07.029. Epub 2017 Jul 25. PMID: 28754489.

Bertini C, Pietrelli M, Braghittoni D, Làdavas E. Pulvinar Lesions Disrupt Fear-Related Implicit Visual Processing in Hemianopic Patients. Front Psychol. 2018 Nov 22;9:2329. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02329. PMID: 30524351; PMCID: PMC6261973.

Borhani K, Làdavas E, Maier ME, Avenanti A, Bertini C. Emotional and movement-related body postures modulate visual processing. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2015 Aug;10(8):1092-101. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu167. Epub 2015 Jan 1. PMID: 25556213; PMCID: PMC4526487.

Clinical Researcher

Francesco Di Gregorio

I got my M.S. in Neuroscience and Neuropsychology at the University of Bologna. Then I moved to Germany for my PhD at the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstand. In Germany, my research focused on electrophysiological correlates of error processing and conscious error awareness.

After my PhD I moved back to Italy at the University of Bologna where I started my collaboration with Prof. Vincenzo Romei. Our research focused on the study of oscillatory activity and EEG-based connectivity in conscious visual perception, attention and in at-risk populations, such as persons with accentuated schizotypy traits.

Currently, I am a clinical researcher at the AUSL of Bologna, where I am carrying out research activities in neurorehabilitation with stroke and traumatic brain injury patients. Moreover, I am part of a research team that studies electrophysiological and structural measures of brain connectivity in severe acquired brain injury and disorders of consciousness.    

Di Gregorio F., Steinhauser M., Maier M.E. (2015) Error-related brain activity predicts conscious classification of different error types. TeaP 2015, Hildesheim.

Di Gregorio F., Maier M.E., Steinhauser M. (2016) Does the Feeling of Error Detection emerge already before the Response?  TeaP 2016, Heidelberg.

Di Gregorio F., Maier M.E., Steinhauser M. (2018). Independent systems in human performance monitoring: evidence from error-related brain activity. SINP 2018, Palermo.

P224 Trajkovic J., Di Luzio P., Roperti C., Mercantoni E., Di Gregorio F., Romei V. Tuning alpha rhythms to shape conscious visual perception. Clinical Neurophysiology 131(4), e140e141.

P220 Trajkovic J., Di Gregorio F., Roperti C., Romei V. Pre-stimulus alpha frequency predicts the latency of visual evoked P1 component. Clinical Neurophysiology 131(4), e143-e144.

Di Gregorio F., Trajkovic J., Roperti C., Romei V. Electrophysiological and cognitive asymmetries underlying schizotypy. Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) 2019, 9-13 june, Rome, Italy.

Di Gregorio F., Casanova E., Petrone V., Bonora R., Ercolino M.G., Mongardi S; Ridolfi A., Simoni C., Leo M.R., Magni E., Ferri D., Provenzale C., Di Santantonio A., La Porta F., Piperno R. La Stimolazione Magnetica Transcranica ripetitiva abbinata al visual scanning riduce i sintomi cognitivi e lo squilibrio interemisferico nella Negligenza spaziale unilaterale sinistra dopo Ictus. SIRN, 2020, Napoli.


Maier M.E.; Di Gregorio F.; Muricchio T.; Di Pellegrino G. (2015), Impaired rapid error monitoring but intact error signaling following rostral anterior cingulate cortex lesions in humans. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9:339 doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00339

Di Gregorio F.; Steinhauser M.; Maier ME. (2016), Error-related brain activity and error awareness in an error classification paradigm. Neuroimage 139: 202-210

Di Gregorio, F., Maier, M. E., & Steinhauser, M. (2018). Errors can elicit an error positivity in the absence of an error negativity: Evidence for independent systems of human error monitoring. NeuroImage, 172(January), 427–436.

Di Gregorio F, Ernst B, Steinhauser M. Differential effects of instructed and objective feedback reliability on feedback‐related brain activity. Psychophysiology. 2019:e13399.

Di Gregorio, F., Maier, M. E., & Steinhauser, M. (2020). Are errors detected before they occur? Early error sensations revealed by metacognitive judgments on the timing of error awareness. Consciousness and Cognition, 77, 102857.

Research Fellow

Joaquín Macedo-Pascual

PhD student in Psychology and Neuroscience at Complutense University of Madrid and research internship at University of Bologna. BSc in Psychology, MSc in Neuroscience and postgraduate degree in Scientific Communication. My fields of research and interest are cognitive neuroscience and neurophysiology, specifically electroencephalography, transcranial magnetic stimulation, working memory, attention and perception. The projects I am currently working on are “Oscillatory mechanisms of attentional processes in working memory” and “Boosting Working Memory capacity by strengthening the oscillatory functional fronto-parietal pathway”.

Macedo-Pascual, J. (2019) Oscillatory correlates of prioritization of emotional stimuli in WM: the interaction between bottom-up and top-down processes [Conference presentation]. PhDay 2019 Psicología, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.

Macedo-Pascual, J., Hinojosa, J. A., y Poch, C. (2019). Oscillatory correlates of prioritization of emotional stimuli in WM: the interaction between bottom-up and top-down processes. Biological Psychology, 145, 167–173.

Macedo-Pascual, J. (2016). Efectos de la externalización de la memoria mediante la interacción social. PsicoEstudiantes, (2), 23-24. Available at:

Macedo-Pascual, J. (2016). Efectos de la externalización de la memoria mediante la interacción social. [online] Repositorio Documental de la Universidad de Salamanca. Available at:

Popular science publications available at:

Modulation of oscillatory mechanisms within the alpha-band according to the perceptive threshold of a retro-cue.


Research Assistant

Giuseppe Ippolito

I am a research assistant at the University of Bologna and the University of Udine, whose activities are supervised by Professors Vincenzo Romei and Cosimo Urgesi.

I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences and Techniques in 2019, with an experimental thesis supervised by Prof. Alessio Avenanti. The topic focused on changes in motor cortical connectivity associated with aging, assessed using ccPAS techniques. I then earned my Master’s degree in Neuroscience and Neuro-Psychological Rehabilitation in 2022. For my experimental thesis, I worked with Professors Vincenzo Romei and Francesco Di Gregorio to develop a machine learning algorithm that predicts outcomes in patients with Disorders of Consciousness.

My research interests include the neural correlates of conscious experience in healthy individuals and altered states of consciousness. Currently, I am working on a project investigating how aprioristic beliefs and feedback shape our perception. To investigate this phenomenon, I explore and interfere with the brain’s oscillatory activity, combining EEG recordings with TMS techniques.

Visiting Fellow

Xisco Buades-Sitjar

PhD student in Education and Cognitive Processes at Nebrija University, Madrid. I have worked in research in a variety of fields -including criminal psychiatry, auditory language perception and differential psychology- in an attempt to explore everything that psychology research has to offer.
My interests have narrowed down to the use of electroencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation to help uncover the brain mechanisms underlying working memory, attention and visual perception, and to try to apply this knowledge to improve our education system. In particular, I am looking to explore the unique aspects of brain functionality in ADHD people, and how they differ from those of neurotypical people.

Planchuelo, C., Buades-Sitjar, F., Hinojosa, J. A., & Duñabeitia, J. A. (In Press). The Nature of Word Associations in Sentence Contexts. Experimental psychology.

Buades-Sitjar, F., Boada, R., Guasch, M., Ferré, P., Hinojosa, J. A., & Duñabeitia, J. A. (2022). The predictors of general knowledge: Data from a Spanish megastudy. Behavior Research Methods, 54(2), 898-909.

Buades Sitjar, F., Planchuelo Fernández, C., & Duñabeitia Landaburu, J. A. (2021). Valence, arousal and concreteness mediate word association. Psicothema, 33(4), 602-609.

Buades-Sitjar, F., Boada, R., Guasch, M., Ferré, P., Antonio Hinojosa, J., Brysbaert, M., &
Andoni Duñabeitia, J. (2021). The thousand-question Spanish general knowledge database. Psicológica, 42(1), 109-119.

Visiting Researcher

Esteban Sarrias

I have a PhD in Psychology from the University of Seville (US), involved in investigating attentional alterations in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) using electroencephalography (EEG). I have worked in Rome (Università degli studi di Roma “Foro Italico”) where I learnt to apply neural sources analysis on EEG signal. Firstly, I formed part of a team at the Institute of Applied Linguistic (ILA) belonging to the University of Cadiz (UCA). I managed a project about language disorders in children in which we applied simultaneous recording EEG and eye-tracker to describe the neural mechanism involved in the integration of visual and auditory stimuli during the syntactic and semantic processing. Afterwards, I joined the Psychophysiology and Neuroimage Group and INIBiCA institute, whose leader is Dr. Javier González Rosa. Thanks to my achievements, I was awarded a competitive postdoctoral “Juan de la Cierva-Formación”fellowship to continue researching on brain correlation of deep and transcranial neuromodulation in Parkinson Disease (PD) and MS. At the moment, I am expanding my knowledge and abilities to run studies with simultaneous recording EEG and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). For this reason, I am a visiting researcher at the Center of Cognitive Neuroscience (Università di Bologna) in Cesena, under the supervision of Prof. Vincenzo Romei. My research interests include investigating and characterizing the brain mechanisms cortico-basal ganglia underlying cognitive function and dysfunction in both healthy subjects, MS and PD by using different functional neuroimaging techniques, such as high-density electroencephalography (EEG) and structural (MRI) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) after application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

PHD Student

Riccardo Bertaccini

I’m a research assistant at the Center of Studies and Research in Cognitive Neuroscience, whose activity is supervised by Professor Vincenzo Romei. 

After some years spent in engineering studies, in 2019 I obtained my BSc in Sciences and Psychological Techniques at the University of Bologna with a thesis concerning the physiological relationship between nasal respiration and pupil dynamics, developed during an exchange period spent at the Karolinska Institutet. Afterwards, in 2021 I earned my MSc in Neuroscience and Neuropsychological Rehabilitation at the University of Bologna, with a thesis entitled “Boosting working memory capacity by strengthening long-range alpha-band functional connectivity over the frontoparietal pathway”. Specifically, the project was aimed at assessing whether a novel oscillatory-based ccPAS protocol was able to enhance frontoparietal connectivity in the alpha band and, at the same time, be beneficial to working memory performance. 

My research focus concerns the oscillatory dynamics underlying functional as well as resting state connectivity. That is why I’m currently following up on these findings, adopting a methodological approach that spans from non-invasive brain stimulation techniques to electrophysiological measurements, matched with behavioral or resting states paradigms.  

PHD Student

Matteo Lai

Matteo Lai is a PhD student of the interdepartmental doctoral course in “Health and Technologies” at the Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering “Guglielmo Marconi” with Professor Stefano Diciotti as supervisor and Professor Vincenzo Romei as co-supervisor.
His main research interests focus on deepening the knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) through neuroimaging, EEG, genetics and clinical data. His research project aims to explain the continuum of ASD and perform classification against control subjects by exploiting generative adversarial networks-based frameworks. This will allow the extraction of imaging- and feature-based biomarkers through explainable AI techniques.

PhD Student

Gianluca Marsicano

I am a PhD student of the “Joint PhD program in Cognitive Neuroscience” at the Psychology Department of the University of Bologna. I obtained a master’s degree in “Neuroscience and Neuropsychological Rehabilitation” at the University of Padua. After graduation I did a post-graduate intern at “BDACLAB” of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University under the supervision of Dr. Luca Ronconi. During my stay in the laboratory, I conducted EEG experiments on audiovisual integration processes and their underlying brain oscillatory activity, and studied these same mechanisms using web-based psychophysical paradigms. Furthermore, my research activity has been focused in investigating the EEG correlates of attentional zoom-lens anomalies in individuals with ASD using multivariate pattern analyses. Currently, I am carrying out my research activity in the Center of Cognitive Neuroscience in Cesena under the supervision of Prof. Caterina Bertini. My main research interests concerns the study of how the oscillatory brain activity drives visual and attentional performance in the healthy population, the study of how this neural activity is abnormal in patients affected by visual field defects and the investigation of how brain EEG oscillations can be functionally modulated with the use of sensory entrainment and NIBS techniques.

Marsicano, G., Bertoni, S., Franceschini, S., Puccio, G., Gori, S., Ronconi, L., & Facoetti, A. “Action video-games improves reading and global perception in children with dyslexia: An electroencephalographic study.” 43rd European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP). August 22-27, 2021. (Abstract)

Marsicano, G., Cerpelloni, F., Melcher, D., & Ronconi, L. (2021). Lower multisensory temporal acuity in individuals with high schizotypal traits: a web-based study.

Currently accessible on PsyArXiv:  10.31234/

PhD Student

Luca Tarasi

Luca Tarasi is a PhD student of the interdepartmental doctoral course in “Health and Technologies” at the Department of Psychology “Renzo Canestrari” and the Department of Electrical Energy and Information Engineering “Guglielmo Marconi”. 

His main research interests focus on the understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying perceptual decision-making and on the study of the processes underpinning alterations in the decision-making process in neurocognitive and psychiatric disorders. To this end, he uses a multi-methodological approach integrating the classic methods of cognitive neuroscience (EEG, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and behavioural paradigms) with the quantitative approaches typical of computational neuroscience branch such as neural modelling and machine learning algorithms applied to the electroencephalographic data analysis.

Di Luzio P., Tarasi L., Russo A., Romei V. “Driving plasticity in recurrent visual networks affects perceptual decision-making”. 7th International Conference on Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS), March 24 – 26, 2020 in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Di Luzio P., Tarasi L., Russo A., Romei V. “ Empowering feedback projections in visual networks affects perceptual decision-making in humans”


PhD Student

Jelena Trajkovic

I am a PhD student of the Joint PhD programe of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology of the University of Bologna. Currently, I am carrying out my research activity in the Center of Cognitive Neuroscience in Cesena under the supervision of prof. Vincenzo Romei.

My research interest include describing electrophysiological underpinnings of processes of perception and attention. More specifically, understanding how the oscillatory brain activity in the alfa range is associated with both perceptual accuracy and subjective awareness, and, on the other hand, how it determines an efficient attentional control. 

Furthermore, I am also interested in understanding and describing perceptual and attentional deficits in neurocognitive and psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia and autism, in the light of an abnormal functioning in the alfa range, by investigating at-risk populations, such as persons with accentuated schizotypy or autistic traits.

My research interests also include perfecting and developing novel protocols of combining neurostimulation techniques and electrophysiological measures, as well as integrating computational methods with traditional experimental approach.

P224 Trajkovic J., Di Luzio P., Roperti C., Mercantoni E., Di Gregorio, F., Romei V. Tuning alpha rhythms to shape conscious visual perception. Clinical Neurophysiology 131(4), e140e141.

P220 Trajkovic J., Di Gregorio F., Roperti C., Romei V. Pre-stimulus alpha frequency predicts the latency of visual evoked P1 component. Clinical Neurophysiology 131(4), e143-e144.

Di Gregorio F., Trajkovic J., Roperti C., Romei V. Electrophysiological and cognitive asymmetries underlying schizotypy. Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) 2019, 9-13 june, Rome, Italy.

Trajkovic J, Di Gregorio F, Ferri F, Diciotti S, Romei V. Resting-state alpha oscillations and connectivity as valid and reliable markers of schizotypy: a machine learning approach.

Di Gregorio F, Trajkovic J, Roperti C, Avenanti A, Romei V. Oscillatory correlates of subjective confidence, objective accuracy and their interplay in conscious perception.

PhD Student

Alessia Santoni

Alessia is a PhD student of the doctoral course in “Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences” at Vita-Salute San Raffale University (Milan), supervised by Prof. Luca Ronconi and co-supervised by Prof. Vincenzo Romei. She completed her master studies at CIMeC (University of Trento), after which she collaborated with Prof. David Melcher at the New York University Abu Dhabi. Her area of research is investigating the functional role of neural oscillations in relation to perceptual and attentional mechanisms using EEG and non-invasive brain stimulation (e.g., tACS), both in neurotypical and neurodiverse (e.g., Developmental Dyslexia) populations.

A. Santoni, L. Ronconi, L. Franchin, D. Melcher – Is visual temporal resolution defined by the duration of ongoing alpha oscillations? 18th Annual Conference of the Italian Association of Cognitive Sciences, 15-17/12/2022, Rovereto, Italy

L. Ronconi, A. Santoni, L. Franchin, D. Melcher – Investigating the relationship between alpha oscillations frequency and visual temporal segregation in dyslexia and neurotypical controls. European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP), 28/08-1/09/2022, Nijmegen, The Netherlands