PhD Program in Neural and Cognitive Sciences | NCS

XXXI Cycle

Walter Coppola
SupervisorTiziano Agostini (DSV) 
Co-supervisor: Agostino Accardo (DIA)
Federica De Dea
Supervisor: Agostino Accardo (DIA)
Mariachiara Feresin
Supervisor: Patrizia Romito (DSV)
Raffaella Ferrari
SupervisorTiziano Agostini (DSV)
Renata Martinčić
Supervisor: Alessandra Galmonte (DSM)
Co-supervisor: Maria Chiara Passolunghi (DSV)
Francesca Policastro
Supervisor: Giovanna Pelamatti (DSV)
Co-supervisors: Roberto Marcovich (DSMCS)
Agostino Accardo (DIA)
Stefania Zoia
Marco Prenassi
Supervisor: Sara Renata Marceglia (DIA)
Erik Roman-Pognuz
SupervisorPaolo Manganotti (University Hospital of Trieste)
Co-supervisors: Barbara Penolazzi (DSV)
Giorgio Berlot (University Hospital of Trieste)
Soraya Elizabeth Shamloo
SupervisorAndrea Carnaghi (DSV)
Davide Zotti
Supervisor: Andrea Carnaghi (DSV)

The Tomatis Effect and the vocal emission with the  Electronic Ear

Human vocal emission is a complex functional process, regulated by well-defined neurophysiological mechanisms. My research aims to verify the influence of the stimulation delivered through the Electronic Ear on vocal behaviour in two different areas:

- the artistic singing

- the study and the integration of foreign languages.

Alfred Tomatis was a French scientist, founder of Audio-Psycho-Phonology, who, having identified very close correlations between hearing and vocal functioning, has created a rehab method based on precise and verified theoretical assumptions: in 1957 the theory was experimentally corroborated by a team led by Raoul Husson in the Functional Physiology laboratory at the Sorbonne in Paris and was certified as the Tomatis Effect. The auditory stimulation is delivered through a device called Electronic Ear. This device is based on a series of amplifiers, filters, weighbridges and electronic controls which receive the sound emitted by a source, process it and send it to the subject through a special headset. By setting the Electronic Ear on ideal parameters such as weighbridge, latency, precession and laterality, the singer is able to improve in real time his own listening, and therefore his own emission, in terms of easiness, smoothness, pitch and resonance. Another important field of research investigated by Tomatis is that concerning the study of foreign languages. For the scientist to talk a specific language means to assume a physical and psychological attitude, which is distinctive of the native speakers of that language, and which is largely inseparable from the neuromuscular program imposed by it. The subject, put under the Electronic Ear set with the characteristic parameters of the language to be integrated, is immersed in the specific acoustic universe of that language: he assumes its specific pronunciation, intonation and prosodic rhythm.

Candidate: Walter Coppola
Brain connectivity in normal and pathological (ADHD, Parkinson and Alzheimer) subjects
The connectivity's studies increased the knowledge of neuronal processes allowing to understand the organization fo the brain network and the information transmission between neurons. This project would investigate the connectivity of some pathologies like ADHD, Parkinson and Alzheimer also by using suitable and new parameters, recording paradigms and connectivity evaluation methods. The goal is to identify which combination of paradigms, connectivity estimators and parameters among those currently used and some recently introduced for non-linear analysis of EEG can provide the best information about the connectivity's characteristics of both subjects affected by these pathologies and normals. A second aim of this research concerns the evaluation of the connectivity changes caused by each pathology, and how they will be modified during the progression. The best combination will be adopted to define a peculiar model, which could be applied to differentiate between injured and normal people and to establish the pathology grade.
Candidate: Federica De Dea
Co-found project by IRCCS materno infantile Burlo Garofolo
Child Custody in Cases of Domestic Violence: Women's Experiences and the Logic of Services
The aim of this project is to examine how the professionals involved managing the situations of child custody in case of violence and on which basis they take relevant decisions. In particular, how social workers, psychologists, lawyers, and judges evaluate these situations? What theories guide the decisions? What elements (couple's history, violence, complaints, children preferences) are included or excluded in their evaluations? In the end, what decisions are made about custody and visits? The study will focus more particularly on psychological expertises for the evaluation of parenting skills, as they represent objective materials to document the basis (psychological or legal theories, stereotypes, etc.) on which relevant decisions are taken.
Candidate: Mariachiara Feresin
Math Anxiety and stereotypes related to math performance in primary and middle school
Math anxiety (MA) is defined as an emotional reaction impairing the performance of people engaged in numbers and mathematics (Gunduz, 2015). Moreover, MA is a “feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear that interferes with math performance” (Ashcraft, 2002). In particular, MA interferes with the individual’s performance on mathematics, manipulation of numbers, and problem-solving activity (Ingole & Pandya, 2015; Lai, Zhu, Chen, & Li, 2015). The students’ negative attitudes and perceptions, such as disliking math or feeling nervous and bored by it often lead to the experience of MA, which can foster poor mathematic achievements (Mullis, Martin, Foy, & Arora, 2012). Studies suggest that MA creates worries which influence the cognitive system responsible for the short-term storage and manipulation of the information (Miyake & Shah, 1999). Furthermore, MA might influence the math performance by overloading the working memory (Ashracft et al., 1998). Studies suggest that parents’ attitudes and their gender stereotypes about mathematics have an important influence on children’s academic attitudes, performances, and beliefs, especially in the math domain (Eccles, 2006).  Also, studies found a positive correlation between MA and general anxiety with the Person’s coefficient about .35 (Wang et al., 2014), and an important link between the math performance and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997; Schunk & Pajares, 2009). Our research aims to study the association between children’s MA, general anxiety, motivation, self-efficacy, gender stereotypes, cognitive and executive functions and their relationship with math performance. The sample is composed approximately of 150 students attending both elementary and middle schools of Trieste (Italy). The two collective assessments, and one one-hour individual assessment are planned.
Candidate: Renata Martinčić
Early prognostic indicators of neural, cognitive and affective processes in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia
Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death and disabilities worldwide. It accounts for about 375,000 fatalities in Europe, of which 55,000 in Italy, every year. Because of its incidence and the increasing economic burden for healthcare systems, the identification of early prognostic indicators able to predict the residual brain performance has become essential. Preservation of life is no longer the only goal in the management of such a dramatic event. The primary endpoint is the quality of life. Since 2010, therapeutic hypothermia and thermal control have been recommended by international guidelines (AHA, ERC) for patients with ventricular fibrillation (VF) and pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VT) (class I, Level of Evidence B), and for patients with asystole and pulseless electric activity (class II, Level of Evidence B). In 2012 a Cochrane review gave added weight to these conclusions. 
Despite these recommendations, evidence supporting the above-mentioned guidelines is still controversial. Unconscious (GCS<8) cardiac arrest patients with return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) undergo therapeutic hypothermia over a period of 24 hours, following the guidelines, by means of an intravascular device. To date, the early prognosis of neurological outcome represents the research frontier for the evaluation of neurological performance following hypoxic-ischemic cerebral injury. The aim of the study is to evaluate the early neurophysiological changes from different perspectives.
Candidate: Erik Roman-Pognuz

Nuove forme di contatto indiretto per ridurre il pregiudizio

Il progetto mira a raggiungere una ampia conoscenza e comprensione delle relazioni inter-gruppo nonché di indagare nuove strategie mirate a ridurre il pregiudizio nei confronti di un gruppo. Nello specifico, il progetto di ricerca ha come obiettivo quello di indagare il ruolo svolto dal contatto fisico nella riduzione del pregiudizio nei confronti di un gruppo (es. immigrati). Il contatto fisico verrà considerato principalmente da un punto di vista vicariante. Ricerche hanno dimostrato che il contatto vicariante, che consiste nella visione di prodotti mass-mediatici in cui membri dell’ingroup si relazionano positivamente con membri dell’outgroup, riduce il pregiudizio nei confronti di quel gruppo. Partendo da questi presupposti, verranno prese in esame immagini rappresentanti un contatto fisico inter-gruppo (vs. intra-gruppo) e verrà esaminato l’effetto che questa tipologia di contatto indiretto ha sulla riduzione del pregiudizio, esplicito e implicito, nei confronti dell’outgroup.

Candidate: Soraya Elizabeth Shamloo
Co-found project by Cooperativa Sociale Lavoratori Uniti Franco Basaglia
Pregiudizio sessuale, linguaggio omofobico, gruppo dei pari e mascolinità: la natura discrminatoria del bullismo nei confornti delle persone omosessuali
Il progetto di ricerca intende indagare il fenomeno della discriminazione e del bullismo omofobico, sia attraverso metodi di ricerca sperimentale che correlazionale. In particolare, vengono analizzati i fattori sociali, cognitivi e linguistici che a) determinano l’emergenza di comportamento di bullismo omofobico nei contesti scolastici, b) influenzano le tipologie di risposta da parte degli insegnanti a eventi di bullismo omofobico. Inoltre, verranno analizzate le conseguenze psicologiche in individui omosessuali che sono stati/e vittime di bullismo omofobico, sia nel contesto scolastico sia al di fuori di tale contesto. I risultati di questo progetto di ricerca permetteranno la progettazione di strumenti educativi e didattici per affrontare situazioni problematiche e per predisporre preventivamente contesti sociali di apprendimento attenti a quelle variabili che influiscono in maniera determinante alla strutturazione di stereotipi e pregiudizi generativi di omofobia.

Candidate: Davide Zotti



Peer-reviewed articles and abstracts




Feresin, M., Folla, N., Lapierre, S. and Romito, P. (2018). Family Mediation in Child Custody Cases and the Concealment of Domestic Violence. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 1-17.




Feresin, M., Anastasia, F., Romito, P. (2017). La mediazione famigliare nei casi di affidamento dei figli/e e violenza domestica: contesto legale, pratiche dei Servizi ed esperienze della donne in Italia. Rivista di Criminologia, Vittimologia e Sicurezza, Vol. XI, N.2. doi:10.14664/rcvs/725




Bianchi, M., Piccoli, V., Zotti, D., Fasoli, F., & Carnaghi, A. (2016). The Impact of Homophobic Labels on the Internalized Homophobia and Body Image of Gay Men The Moderation Role of Coming-Out. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, doi: 0261927X16654735.

Coppola, W.  (2016). The Tomatis Effect with Professional Opera Singers: A Pilot Study. Gestalt Theory “Body, Mind, Expression” vol.38, (2/3), 239-252.

Nobile, L., Roman-Pognuz, E., et al., (2016). Clinical and EEG characteristics of patients with preserved cortical SSEPs after post-anoxic coma. Critical Care Medicine, 44(2), 141. doi: 10.1097/01.ccm.0000508937.19310.20 

Nobile, L., Roman-Pognuz, E., et al., (2016). Clinical and electrophysiological correlates of absent somatosensory evoked potentials after post-anoxic brain damage: a multicentre cohort study. Intensive Care Medicine Exp., 4(1), 28. doi: 10.1186/s40635-016-0100-7

Martinčić R., Di Blas, L., Pelamatti, G. M., Penolazzi, B., Mariani, M. (2016). Mental health budget optimization as a tool to contrast disease chronicity, facilitate patient integration, social inclusion and return to work: Preliminary findings. Review of Psychology, 23, 107.

Martinčić R., Di Blas, L., Pelamatti, G. M., Penolazzi, B., Mariani, M. (2016). Mental health budget as a tool to contrast disease chronicity: Preliminary findings of a longitudinal study on autonomy development. In: Paolo Bernardis, Carlo Fantoni, & Walter Gerbino (eds.) TSPC2016, Proceedings of the Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition. Trieste, EUT.

Shamloo, S. E., Carnaghi, A., Piccoli, V., Grassi, M., Bianchi, M. (2016). Look and Imagine yourself giving that same touch: the role of intergroup vicarious physical contact in racial prejudice revision. In: Paolo Bernardis, Carlo Fantoni, & Walter Gerbino (eds.) TSPC2016, Proceedings of the Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition. Trieste, EUT.

Zotti, D., Carnaghi, A., Piccoli, V., Bianchi, M., Pelamatti, G. (2016). Sexual prejudice, inter-group contact and homophobic school climate as determinants of school staff responses to homophobic bullying. In: Paolo Bernardis, Carlo Fantoni, & Walter Gerbino (eds.) TSPC2016, Proceedings of the Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition. Trieste, EUT.




Coppola, W., Cattaruzza, S. (2015). Creating a world through the sounds. In: Paolo Bernardis, Carlo Fantoni, & Walter Gerbino (eds.) TSPC2015, Proceedings of the Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition. Trieste, EUT.







Feresin, M. (2017). Child Custody in Cases of Domestic Violence: Women's Experiences and the Logic of Services in Italy. Seminario presso University of Ottawa, Ottawa (Canada), March 16.

Feresin, M. (2017). Child Custody in Cases of Domestic Violence: Women's Experiences and the Logic of Services. Preliminary Results. Interventi al ciclo di seminari Phd Projects: preliminary results, University of Ottawa, Ottawa (Canada), January 27 and March 17.

Feresin, M. (2017).Family Mediation in Cases of Domestic Violence. Intervento al convegno internazionale International Perspectives on Post-Separation Violence, Ottawa (Canada), April 11-12.

Feresin, M. (2017).Separazioni conflittuali e violenza: interventi possibili. Intervento al convegno nazionale Erickson, Affrontare la violenza sulle donne, Rimini (Italy), October 13-14.

Feresin, M. (2017). Violenza post separazione e affido dei figli/e, Intervento al convegno Donne Libere dalla violenza: la valutazione del rischio e il piano di protezione, Mestre, November 9.

Feresin, M. (2017). Violenza sulle donne: ricerca, formazione e azione sociale, Intervento al seminario presso l'Univiersità degli studi di Trieste, November 21. 

Feresin, M. (2017). La violenza nelle coppie di adolescenti, Intervento al convegno Lasciatele vivere. Mattinata di studio sulla violenza contro le donne, Rimini, November 25.

Shamloo, S. E., Carnaghi, A., Piccoli, V., Grassi, M., Bianchi, M. (2017). The role of pictures portraying intergroup physical contact in reducing prejudice towards immigrants. European Association of Social Psychology General Meeting, Blitz presentation. Granada (Spain), July 5-8.




Feresin, M. (2016).La Psicologia di Comunità in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, all’Università e sul territorio. Intervento al convegno nazionale dell'ordine degli Psicologi FVG, Psicologia di comunità. Nuove spendibilità per gli operatori del territorio, Udine (Italy), April 9.

Feresin, M. (2016). Ragazze, ragazzi: stereotipi e relazioni nell'era di Internet: a chi rivolgersi?. Intervento al seminario promosso dal Comitato Unico di Garanzia, il Consiglio degli Studenti ed il Laboratorio di Psicologia Sociale e di Comunità dell’Università degli Studi di Trieste,Ragazze e ragazzi: stereotipi e relazioni nell’era di internet – Pari opportunità, relazioni, violenza e molestie: parliamone!, Università degli Studi di Trieste, May 5.

Feresin, M. (2016). L'affido dei figli in situazione di violenza domestica: esperienze delle donne e logiche dei Servizi. Intervento al cliclo di seminari Ricerche sulla violenza contro le donne, Trieste (Italy), November 18.

Feresin, M. (2016). La violenza contro le donne: un problema sociale. Intervento alla conferenza RossoVivo, Fiumicello (Italy), November 23.

Roman-Pognuz, E. (2016). The pupillary reflex in the neurological evaluation of post-cardiac arrest patients: current and future prospects. SIAARED National Congress, June, Rome, Italy.

Roman-Pognuz, E., Penolazzi B. (2016). SSEP N20 amplitude as an early predictor of neurological outcome in cardiac arrest patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia. In: Paolo Bernardis, Carlo Fantoni, & Walter Gerbino (eds.) TSPC2016, Proceedings of the Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition. Trieste, EUT.

Zotti, D. (2016). A scuola per conoscerci. L’esperienza nel Friuli Venezia Giulia. Intervento al Convegno nazionale di AGEDO, Sapere, saper fare, saper essere. Genitori, insegnanti ed educatori di fronte all’adolescente inatteso, Milano (Italy), October 29.

Zotti, D., Piccoli, V., Bianchi, M., Di Blas, L. Pelamatti, G., & Carnaghi, A., (2016). Fattori di prevenzione e di promozione del bullismo omofobico: una ricerca nelle scuole superiori del Friuli Venezia Giulia. Intervento al XIV Congresso Nazionale della Sezione di Psicologia Sociale dell’Associazione Italiana di Psicologia, Napoli (Italy), September 22-24.



Books and Chapter of books




Feresin, M. (2017). Parent training in situazioni di violenza. Guida pratica per gli operatori. Supervisione scientifica e revisione italiana dell'opera di Iwi, K. and Newman, C., Picking up the Pieces after Domestic Violence. A Practical Resource for Supporting Parenting Skills, Erickson.

Zotti, D., Piccoli, V., Pelamatti, G., Carnaghi, A., (In press). Adolescenti e bullismo omofobico, in La violenza sulle donne e i minori. Una guida per chi lavora sul campo, a cura di Romito, P., Folla, N., Melato, M., Carocci, Roma.




Roman-Pognuz, E., Peratoner, A. (2016). Omeostasi termica perioperatoria. Effetti terapeutici dell’ipotermia. Edizioni minerva medica. isbn: 978-88-7711-888-2




Coppola, W. (2015). Itinerari sonori. Corpo, linguaggio ed espressione nell'opera audio-psico-fonologica di Alfred Tomatis. Milano: Mimesis.

Carnaghi, A., Piccoli, V., Zotti, D., Di Blas, L., & Pelamatti, G. (2015). Descrizione e analisi del bullismo omofobico negli Istituti di Secondo grado della Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia in L'esperienza in Friuli Venezia Giulia nella prevenzione e nel contrasto del bullismo omofobico: confronti e prospettive di sviluppo.

Zotti, D. & Bottino, M. (2015). I percorsi didattico-formativi rivolti agli studenti in L'esperienza in Friuli Venezia Giulia nella prevenzione e nel contrasto del bullismo omofobico: confronti e prospettive di sviluppo.