Cognitive, Social and Affective Neuroscience (CoSAN) Ph.D. program is a 3 year, multi-centre, international Ph.D. program that aims to investigate, within the framework of embodied cognition, the neural correlates of cognitive, social and affective functions including empathy, intention, action, and emotion understanding, joint attention, joint action, cooperative and competitive behaviour, ingroup and outgroup processing and Self-Other distinction.

Structure of the Ph.D. program

  • 1st Year Ph.D. students are assigned to a particular research project (i.e. topic and technique) often in collaboration with other more experienced Ph.D. students and/or postdoc fellows.

Research topic and technique are chosen by taking into account student's interests and Lab's priorities and resources. Students are trained in responsible conduct of research with human participants.

  • 2nd Year Ph.D. students become more responsible for experimental protocol design, data collection and analysis and results dissemination. By the end of the second year, in order to be enrolled in the 3rd year, students must have submitted at least one paper to a peer-reviewed international journal.
  • 3rd Year Ph.D. students take a leading role in the experimental studies they are part of and may provide mentorship and support to 1st year students.


Throughout the Ph.D. program students will:

  • Attend monthly lab meetings where they will learn and practice oral and graphical presentation of experimental paradigms, preliminary findings, results, and critical evaluation of the literature.
  • Contribute to grant hunting and writing.
  • Attend local and international workshops, summer schools and conferences relevant to their research topics.
  • Contribute to organize and manage lab activities and facilities (e.g. lab meetings, conferences, lab website and databases).
  • Spend 6-18 months to conduct research in a partner foreign laboratory.


Facilities and Techniques

Fully equipped laboratories are located at the Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome and at IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia .

Available state of the art techniques include: Electroencephalography (EEG), Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SEP),Laser Evoked Potentials (LEP), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), infrared Eye-tracking and Motion-tracking, Thermal Imaging, electromyography (EMG),  Lesion Mapping analysis, and CAVE -Virtual Reality. Thanks to collaboration with other labs we can also perform fMRI.

Next page: Research Topics