Research lines

In the attempt to explain complex human behaviors, the iNSuLa Lab has recently been focusing its research on two areas of neuroscience: food processing and social information processing. 
To contribute to the understanding of food processing, an essential requirement for survival, at the iNSuLa Lab we have started several projects to investigate the role of food categories in food decision making and on its neural underpinnings, both in healthy participants as well as in individuals with neurological and neuropsychological disorders, throughout development.
In detail we are investigating: 
  • perceptual, affective and cognitive processes involved in food choice (Francesco Foroni);
  • perceptual, affective and cognitive processes involved in eating behavior in healthy participants and neurological patients (Marilena Aiello);
  • analysis of neural signal related to food perception (Moses O. Sokunbi);
  • how the brain categorizes different types of food, and which factors drive food preferences and choices (Carol Coricelli);
  • how framing affects food choices and its neural correlates (Paolo Garlasco);
  • eating disorders, their neural signature, and the evaluation of their treatment (Sofia Osimo);
  • semantic memory and the neural bases of concept formation (Georgette Argiris);
  • category-specific semantic deficits in neurodegenerative disorders (Miriam Vignando);
  • preference formation and decision-making for food and beverages (Pin-Jane (Nora) Chen);
  • how the brain interprets food as a reward (Damiano Terenzi).
Despite the extensive study of social processes in the last decades, social neuroscience is still clarifying different aspects of how humans interact with each other. The iNSuLa Lab is contributing to this literature by investigating social processes that are rather unexplored or whose importance has been recently revealed. Projects are currently focusing on:
  • perception and production (including facial mimicry and its regulation) of facial expressions (Sebastian Korb);
  • human sociochemosignal communication in individuals with typical and atypical social behavior (Valentina Parma);
  • how perceptual and affective information influences moral decision making (Cinzia Cecchetto); 
  • social semantic memory and its neural bases in patients with neurological and neurosurgical diseases (Luca Piretti);
  • the role of affective information to our knowledge about social groups (Tiziano Suràn).