CAtS @ CIMeC, Lab members

Principal investigator

Francesco Pavani

Francesco is Professor of Experimental Psychology at the Center for Mind Brain Sciences (CIMeC), member of the Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science and associate member of the Integrative Multisensory Perception Action and Cognition Team (IMPACT). He studies il perception, attention and language processing in people with deafness and hearing loss, with a specific focus on cochlear implants. Since 2017 he coordinates the project VIRTUALHEARING, funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France) to study spatial hearing abilities in cochlear implant users. From 2020 he also coordinates a research project on linguistic development in individuals early deafness, funded by the Ministry for Research and University (Italy).

Office: C206 - Palazzo Fedrigotti, Corso Bettin 31, 38068 Rovereto, Italy
Phone: +39 0464 808674
E-mail: francesco.pavani [at]

Assistant Professor (RTD-A)

Stefania Benetti

Stefania research interests are broad and include how early sensory and language experience shapes brain organization, the neural mechanisms driving cross-modal plasticity and how they might interact with sensitive and critical periods for the development of sensory and cognitive systems, with a particular focus on deafness. She is also interested in the organisation of multisensory representations in the brain and, in particular, those brain systems engaged in human communication and social/affective cognition. Her research is by nature multimodal, at the intersection between fundamental neuropsychological paradigms and psychophysics combined with innovative neuroimaging techniques (such as fMRI sDTI MEG) and analytical approaches (such us univariate/multivariate analysis of functional data, machine learning, functional effective connectivity studies, brain white matter tractography). 

E-mail: stefania.benetti [at]

Post-doctoral researchers

Simona Amenta

Simona is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre of Mind and Brain Sciences (CIMeC) in Rovereto. She holds a PhD in Psychology and a master degree in Psychology of Communication. Her main research interests are focused on written language processing. She studies reading, visual word recognition, semantic and morphological processing, bringing together methods from different disciplines: psycholinguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and computational linguistics.  More recently, she has started developing linguistic resources with a focus on the Italian language (Italian Vocabulary Test, LexITA, OSC database, Subtlex-IT). She is part of CAtS since December 2018. Here she studies reading in deaf people and cochlear implant users. She is particularly interested in the development of reading abilities through cochlear implant use, and the pattern of psycholinguistic effects in this learning scenario. To this aim, she is working on a large-scale online data collection involving the population of deaf readers throughout Italy. 

E-mail: simona.amenta [at]

PhD candidates

Chiara Valzolgher

Chiara is PhD student in co-tutele at Université Claude Bernard (Lyon, France) and CIMeC (Rovereto, Italy). Her research projects explore the cognitive mechanisms involved in spatial hearing. She is working to develop and test effective training protocols based on multisensory stimulations and active exploration of the acoustic space through body movements. Crucial in her work is the use of an innovative approach to test the ability to locate sounds, that exploits virtual reality and allows movement recording of the participant's head, eyes and hands, within different virtual visual scenes. Her purpose is to extend multisensory training paradigms to hearing impaired populations, such as cochlear implanted people and people with age-related hearing loss. Chiara received individual fellowships from the Zegna Foundation and from the Université Franco-Italienne.

E-mail: chiara.valzolgher [at]


Elena Giovanelli

Elena holds a MSc degree in Psychology Neuroscience, and is now working as an intern at Center for Mind Brain Sciences (CIMeC) in the CAtS group. She is currently involved in two projects about spatial attention and sound localization abilities. The first aims to evaluate effects of spatial and non-spatial multisensory cueing in older adults with sensory-neural hearing loss, while the second investigates top-down and bottom-up attentional processes that underlie hearing in noise abilities.

E-mail: elena.giovanelli [at]

Master students

Michela Todeschini

Michela is working on her master's thesis based on an internship project in collaboration with the IMPACT laboratory at the Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences Lyon (CRNL, Lyon, France). The project is called "Evaluation of the Effect of Visual-Auditory training" (EVA), and consists in training spatial hearing abilities in cochlear implant users using spatial vs. non-spatial multisensory tasks. Michela is currently enrolled in an Erasmus+traineeship program.

E-mail: michela.todeschini [at]

Elena Gessa

Elena is carrying out her experimental master’s thesis at the CAtS laboratory. The aim of the project is to evaluate how elderly people with mild and moderate hearing loss localize sounds and whether head-movements can help with this type of task. To this purpose, she uses the virtual reality and kinematic recording system developed by the IMPACT laboratory at the Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences in Lyon. The project includes a second future study in which elderly people with hearing aids will be tested in the same localization tasks. The research aim to uncover spatial hearing abilities with or without prosthesis in aged individuals. 

E-mail: elena.gessa [at]

Giada Carioli

Giada is master student at the University of Trento, where she studies Psychology Neuroscience. She is working on a research project on the links between lip reading and visual word recognition, to investigate the role of visual fonological cues on written word processing in people with early deafness. She is currently attending the second level of the Italian Sign Language course and collaborate in the organisation of cultural events related to deafness in the Ravenna region.

E-mail: giada.carioli [at]

Francesca Bertoldi

Francesca is a master student at the University of Trento, where she studies Psychology Neuroscience. For her master’s thesis she is working on a research project under the joint supervision of Claudia Bonfiglioli and Francesco Pavani. She is interested in understanding whether current research in the field of deafness meet the needs of its stakeholders.
She studied Italian Sign Language, and she got the third level diploma in the summer of 2017.

E-mail: francesca.bertoldi [at]

Bachelor students


Giulia Visintainer

Giulia is a bachelor student at the University of Trento, where she studies Psychology and Cognitive Science. In her internship she is working on a research project under the joint supervision of Dr. Claudia Bonfiglioli and Prof. Francesco Pavani. She is interested in understanding whether current research in the field of deafness meet the needs of its stakeholders.
She holds the third level certificate in Italian Sign Language and she is now attending a professional course to become a Teaching and Communication support Assistant.

E-mail: giulia.visintainer [at]

Previous lab members

Post-doc researchers

  • Mara Mazzurega
  • Davide Bottari

PhD students

  • Giuseppe Rabini (currently at CIMeC, Italy)
  • Luca Artesini (currently at TSW, Italy)
  • Benedetta Heimler (currently at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
  • Luigi Tamè (currently at Birkbeck College, UK)
  • Davide Bottari (currently at IMT - Scuola Alti Studi Luca, Italy)
  • Elena Nava (currently at Università di Milano Bicocca, Italy)
  • Maria Luisa Dematté (currently at Università di Padova, Italy)

Master students and internships (since 2015)

  • Roberta Sorio (master thesis and intership; 2018-2019
  • Nora Navarini (master thesis and internship; 2017-2018)
  • Giulia Lucin (master thesis and internship; 2017-2018)
  • Paola Potente (CIMeC's master thesis and internship; 2018)
  • Silvia Turri (master thesis and internship; 2016-2018)
  • Adriana Catania (master thesis and internship; 2016-2018)
  • Elena Altobelli (master thesis and internship; 2017-2018)
  • Elena Ragusa (master thesis and internship; 2017-2018)
  • Vincenza Claudia D'Avanzo (master thesis and internship; 2017-2018)
  • Gabriele Castagna (master thesis and internship; 2016-2017)
  • Laura Marras (internship; 2017)
  • Mara Dighero (master thesis and internship; 2015-2017)
  • Ilaria Di Nunzio(master thesis and internship; 2015-2017)
  • Giulia Curti (master thesis and internship; 2015-2017)
  • Valeria Giannelli (internship; 2016-2017)
  • Riccardo Nicoli (master thesis; 2015-2016)
  • Irene Laudanna (internship; 2015-2016)
  • Laura Facci (master thesis and internship; 2015-2017)
  • Silvia Scarozza(master thesis and internship; 2014-2016)
  • Jlenia Marisa(master thesis and internship; 2014-2016)