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Our department undertakes basic and applied research that addresses important current societal challenges, with the goal to maintain and enhance mental and brain health and well-being, reduce inequalities and improve mental and brain health promotion, prevention and treatment. We strive for Open and Responsible Science practices, so that our research is based on honesty and accessible to all levels of society.
We have a broad research interest spanning from cognitive processes (attention and memory), neuropsychological disorders (Autism, Epilepsy, Parkinson and Dementia) to neuroimaging (Electroencephalography –EEG-), counselling and mental health, and social identity and inclusion. Our research strengths can be grouped under three strategic themes:
- Promoting Mental health across the life-span. We are interested in promoting mental and brain health in older ages, by investigating early protective factors (e.g., cognitive reserve, bilingualism), understanding cognitive and brain mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism) and ageing, identifying biomarkers for detecting people at risk of cognitive impairment, and by investigating the effectiveness and sustainability of non-pharmacological interventions (mindfulness, digital cognitive training). We are also interested in neuroplasticity changes induced by life experiences.
- Social integration. Our research focuses on minorities with regard to psychosocial issues of identity and social exclusion. More specifically we are interested in investigating the social identity of immigrants with regards to mental health as well as challenges of integration of socially vulnerable groups within the context of the labour market, educational settings and sustainability practices.
- Affective Neuroscience. Our research employs human connectivity, and graph theoretical modelling to investigate affective modulation in the healthy and pathological brain. We are interested in unravelling brain mechanisms of complex emotions directed to the self (e.g, shame, guilt and self-disgust) in healthy populations and in conditions with impulse control problems (e.g, Parkinson disease, gambling).