A post-doc position is now open to work in my lab at SISSA. The position is for two years, renewable for other two, and it is funded by an ERC project on statistical learning and reading. You can find more information on the project and the post here. Other positions will be available soon!
My research friends and colleagues, just wanted to let you know that I’ve finally made a few decisions about my virtual social life as a researcher. I’ve been continuously receiving requests for copies of papers through the funniest social media (most notably, Academia), and it was always a real effort to try to keep up with that, especially in consideration of the effort that I make already to keep uploading on this website everything (really everything…) that I produce, from the top journal papers to the last of the local talks. One on the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my mentors (and particularly from Kathy Rastle) is that time is the most precious thing on our toolbag; I’m trying to maximise my efficiency on socials too.
So, I’ve shut down my Academia account (and every other account that I’ve made up in the past, probably after a huge binge…), and made an official bid to myself that I will keep everything up to date on this website, mirroring any relevant news on Facebook and Twitter. This should be more than enough for anyone to just google my name and find anything about my work; and should also guarantee a reasonable amount of advertising. Also, I think that Google Scholar does a rather good job in keeping track of our work; so this would also be a reasonably safe gateway to my research life, although I won’t make much effort to keep it in shape myself.
I hope this won’t disappoint too many people; but I’m sure any researcher must appreciate how difficult it is to keep up with our workload, and how important is to avoid putting more effort in promoting our work than in actually carrying it out.
Nice day today, with the starting of a new edition of my course at SISSA on brain and language. It was only our first meeting, but I enjoyed quite a lot already! It’s going to be a slightly edited and updated version of the course I gave in March to then-1st-year students (so, for those who followed that course, probably not a big deal to come again this round). We will go through the issue of how signs are mapped onto meaning in human language, and how neuroscience and experimental psychology address this problem. I’ve uploaded here a first version of the slides I’d plan to use, just for the sake of those good-old-fashioned students who might want to do some further reading in the making: please be aware this version is likely to change, although perhaps only slightly. More news soon!
My wonderful former post-doc at Milano Bicocca, Dr. Roberto Bottini, will be visiting the lab at SISSA this week. He’ll be around Thursday and Friday (26/27 November), and will talk about the work we’ve been doing together over the last couple of years on the relationship between consciousness and word meaning on Thursday, 2.30 pm, in room 139. Here you can find a title and an abstract for Roby’s talk. Everyone is most welcome!
Hello world! A MoMo paper was recently accepted for publication in Cognition. Building on a great idea by Roberto Bottini, we’ve shown that early blind individuals have their own mental time line just like sighted people, which implies that vision isn’t necessary to develop a spatial mapping of time. We’ve also demonstrated that this mental time is qualitatively similar to that of the sighted. This contrasts sharply with previous data by our co-authors Virginie Crollen and Olivier Collignon, who showed that the association between space and numbers is fundamentally different in the sighted and blind. By showing an important difference in the spatial mapping of time and numbers, these new data suggest for the first time that the spatial grounding of different abstract concepts may not be different manifestations of the same underlying cognitive mechanism; rather, they may have different experiential and/or genetic origins. Until 20 June 2015, the paper will be free to everyone at this link.
Special thanks for this work go to the Italian Union for Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Institute for the Blind of Milano for their collaboration.
Hello world! Great news here, two of my recent papers were accepted for publication! They both come from my immensely precious collaboration with Kathy Rastle at Royal Holloway, and also feature the ERP magicians Aureliu Lavric and Heike Elchlepp at Exeter, and the great Colin Davis at Bristol.
One paper will appear in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, and describes evidence for masked suffix priming in English, thus reinforcing the idea that affixes play a fundamental part in complex word identification, along with stems. It’s the first evidence for suffix priming in English, joining data provided in Spanish by Jon Andoni Duñabeitia and the Manolos, Perea and Carreiras. We took advantage of this effect to provide a new test for position specificity in suffix coding. Indeed, masked suffix priming didn’t hold cross-positionally, thus suggesting again position-constrained coding for affixes. You can download a post-print of this paper here.
The second paper will appear in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, and reports on ERP evidence showing different time courses for irregular and regular masked priming. On the one hand, this informs the long-lasting debate between words-and-rules and parallel-processing approaches to inflectional morphology. On the other hand, it proves true two, quite stringent predictions of Kathy’s and my model for visual word identification, which propose the existence of two separate and serially arranged levels where morphological ties are coded. A post-print version is also available for this paper here.
Or at least this is my hope 😉 I’ve made a few changes in the website, in an attempt to make it simpler, more user friendly and more accessible from friends around the world. Not tons of things, but hopefully a few details that should make readers’ life easier. First, I’ve changed the theme. Actually, I think I liked the previous one better aesthetically; but couldn’t get rid of the useless double lateral columns, which were just empty and took out reading space. This one just has one widget column, which is more than enough, I think. Second, I completed the translation of all my science pages to English, including the teaching pages. Third, I’ve provided direct connections to pdfs for all my papers, and also added a link to the publisher’s webpage. This move should both make your life easier and protect myself a bit more against copyright violations. There’s surely something more I could do to bring this website further; but time is precious (especially these hectic days packed with deadlines!), and I hope this will be enough for a little while. Enjoy!
Hey world, the post-print of our most recent effort was doublechecked by our Outreach Department for copyright safety, and is now available here, or through this website publication page. Enjoy!
Hello world, great news from the MoMo! A paper of ours was recently accepted for publication in JEP:LMC. This work is primarily from our own Simona Amenta and from the fabulous Marco Marelli, and shows for the first time that we break down complex words into morphemes based on orthography alone during sentence reading. So, yep, apparently corners corn within sentences too. This work also shows, however, that semantics come to be important very soon after breakdown, or possibly even together with the breakdown. In fact, whereas base frequency is facilitatory in genuine derivations (e.g., dealer), it slows down processing in pseudo-derived words such as CORNER. This latter piece of evidence contrasts with data on isolated words, where the stem plays the same kind of effect in either transparent or opaque words. For those of you who’d like to read the piece, we’ve just submitted a post-print version to our on-line repository at Bicocca; so, it should be out soon here. Oh, yes, I can understand you can’t wait 😉 so please e-mail me or Simona, if you’re dying of curiosity…
The MoMo is just back from a trip to the US. We’ve been visiting Daniel Casasanto‘s lab at the University of Chicago. It was great! Beautiful lab, great people, and fantastic hospitality from Daniel’s family. The window painting experience with the little ones was particularly fun! And no, we didn’t mind the minus 15 or something that we experienced there — jokes apart, I genuinely prefer the minus 15 and blue sky that we had in Chicago, rather than the month or so of nearly consecutive raining that we’re having here in Milan. We then moved to California for the meeting of the Psychonomic Society, which was also great. 25 Celsius there, and blue sky; so, the perfect combination. Don’t worry, we didn’t spend all our time painting on windows and checking for the weather; we also did science, yeah. You can find Davide’s talk at U Chicago here, and Davide’s and Rob’s Psychonomic presentations here and here, respectively. Take a look!