DoB:  June 30, 1966

Place of residence: Milan, Italy



Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Italy Botta, 27100 Pavia


IRCCS, National Neurological Institute Mondino Foundation

Current positions

Professor of Cognitive and Experimental Psychology (M/PSI-01) (since 2002)
Research Scientist, IRCCS National Neurological Institute Mondino Foundation


Institutional roles

Vice Rector, University of Pavia
Coordinator of the Cognitive Psychology Research Unit, IRCCS National Neurological Institute Mondino Foundation
Dean, Interuniversity School of Psychology, Neuroscience and Human Sciences, University of Pavia and IUSS University School of Advanced Studies

Previous positions

- 2000-2002: Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Pavia

- 1999-2000: Research Scientist, Sapienza University of Rome

- 1998-1999: Post-doc Research Fellow, University of Padua

- 1997: Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen, UK

- 1995-1996: Visiting Research Fellow, Brunel University, UK

Previous roles

- 2015-2020: Head, Department of Brain and Behavioural Sciences, Università di Pavia

- 2016-2019: National coordinator, Experimental Psychology Section, Italian Association of Psychology (AIP)

- 2016-2019 Member, National Governing Board, Italian Association of Psychology

- 2007-2015: Director, Postgraduate School in Psychology (later, Psychology, Neuroscience and Data science)

- 2008-2013: Director, Postgraduate Course in Musical Cognition in collaboration with Teatro alla Scala, Milano

- 2007-2013: Dean, School of Psychology, University of Pavia

- 2005-2007: Member of the Academic Senate, University of Pavia

- 2003-2007: Coordinator, Head of Department Committee

- 2002-2007: Head, Department of Psychology, University of Pavia


1997: PhD in Psychology, University of Milano

1992: Laurea in Psychology, University of Padua (summa cum laude)

Current Research

  • Individual differences in imagery and mental representations 
  • Sensory deprivation as a model to understand brain functional development and plasticity
  • Blindness and cognitive development 
  • The role of the cerebellum in memory and higher cognitive functions
  • The interface of cognitive mechanisms and neural structures in understanding memory functions


My research activity has been supported by institutions such as The Wellcome Trust, EU, Italian Foreign Ministry, Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lombardia, Fondazione Cariplo, Italian Ministry for Scientific Research. I coordinated both Italian and international scientific networks on perception, imagery and spatial cognition. Since 2003, I have been coordinating a national research network on blindness and cognition involving the universities of Pavia, Padua, Pisa, Milano-Bicocca, and Turin.

Overall, competitive funds received as PI are approximately € 1,000,000

Scientific publications

More than 100 scientific contributions in refereed international journals including top journals in both experimental psychology (e.g., Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Acta Psychologica, Memory), neuropsychology (e.g., Neuropsychologia, Cortex, Brain and Cognition) and cognitive neuroscience (e.g., Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Cerebral Cortex, Neuroimage, Journal of Neurophysiology, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews) areas, as well as scientific monographs for major international publishers (Vecchi and Gatti, Memory as Prediction: From looking back to looking forward, The MIT Press, Cambridge, US; Cattaneo and Vecchi, Blind Vision: The neuroscience of visual impairment, The MIT Press, Cambridge, US; Cornoldi and Vecchi, Visuo-spatial working memory and individual differences, Taylor and Francis, UK).


More than 200 paper or poster presentations in national and international conferences


Academic supervisions

Since 2001, I supervised Phd students and post-doc fellows. Among them:

  • Lilach Akiva Kabiri (now at Open University of Israel)
  • Demis Basso (now Associate Professor at the Free University of Bozen)
  • Sara Bottiroli (now Associate Professor at the University Giustino Fortunato, Benevento)
  • Letizia Casiraghi (now Research Fellow at the University of Pavia)
  • Zaira Cattaneo, (now Associate Professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca)
  • Elena Cavallini (now Associate Professor at the University of Pavia)
  • Andrea Ciricugno (now Research Fellow at IRCCS Mondino Foundation)
  • Maria Chiara Fastame (now Associate Professor at the University of Cagliari)
  • Chiara Ferrari (now Assistant Professor at the University of Pavia)
  • Carlotta Lega (now Research Fellow at the University of Milano-Bicocca)
  • Viola Oldrati (now Research Fellow at IRCCS Medea)
  • Mariagrazia Ranzini (now Research Fellow at the University of Padua)
  • Chiara Renzi (now Adjunct Professor at Modena and Reggio Emilia University)


Undergraduate courses

  • Psicologia Cognitiva (Cognitive Psychology, BSc in Psychological Science, L24)
  • Scienze Umane e Neuroscienze (Neuroscience and Human Sciences, Collegio S.Caterina, Pavia


Graduate and postgraduate courses

  • Psicologia Sperimentale (Experimental Psychology, MSc in Psychology, LM51)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience – Experimental Psychology (in English, MSc in Psychology, Neuroscience and Human Sciences, LM51)
  • Psicologia (Postgraduate clinical specialization Schools in Neurology, Psychiatry, Developmental Neuropsychiatry, Neurophysiology)