Professor Vallortgiara is the Director of the Center, he is Full Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Animal Cognition and Neuroscience Lab (CIMeC), University of Trento
News - ERC advanced Grant
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 2.3-million Euros to fund research being conducted by ethologist and neuroscientist Giorgio Vallortigara. The title of the project is "Predisposed mechanisms for social orienting: A comparative neuro-cognitive approach". Discover the details of the project here.
Spatial cognition in the avian brain. I am interested in the mechanisms underlying use of geometry in spatial navigation. I use the chick as a system model and a combination of behavioural and neurobiological methods, including lesion studies and single cells recording.
Number cognition, using operant and imprinting techniques in frogs, some species of corvids, and domestic chicks. The research work involves investigation of both cardinal and ordinal aspects of number. We also plan to investigate intuitive notions of probability in animals (in chicks and non-human primates).
Biological predisposition in recognition of animated objects. The research project involves investigation of phenomena such as biological motion perception and face-like stimuli recognition. We plan to study newly-hatched chicks and human newborns using behavioural techniques and, respectively, hymmuno-hystochemistry and NIRS for investigation of the brain areas involved in the biological predispositions.
My laboratory is currently involved in research on the evolution of brain lateralization as part of a large research team comprising 8 different labs in Europe, funded by a EC grant. In Italy we collaborate in particular with the laboratory of prof. L. Regolin (University of Padua) and prof. L. Tommasi (Univ. of Chieti). In the same area, I maintain a long-standing collaboration with Prof. L.J. Rogers at the Centre for Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour at the University of New England, Australia, where I also hold an Adjunct Professorship. With my past mentor, Professor Richard J. Andrew, of Sussex University, U.K:, I am involved in collaborative research on the effects of light exposure in embryo on the development of animal brain asymmetry. With Professor Rogers and the Laboratory of Entomology of the University of Bologna (Dott.ssa B. Maccagnani, Prof. G. Celli) and of the IASMA at S. Michele all’Adige in Trento, I am currently studying lateralization of memory formation in honeybees. With Dr. Yegor Malaschichev of the Dept. of Morphology of the Univ. of St. Petersburg, Russia, we are studying situs inversus and its role on brain lateralization in chicks and amphibians. With Professor E. Spelke and Dr. Sang Ah Lee (Harvard University) we are studying geometric spatial cognition in chicks and children.
We collaborate with the laboratory of Prof. Lucia Regolin of Padua University to investigate number and object cognition in the domestic chick.
We also collaborate with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, carrying on research on spatial cognition in different species of birds. This research has been funded during the last two years by Vigoni-DAAD.
With Prof. Toshiya Matsushima of the Department of Biology, Sapporo University, Japan, we have a collaboration to investigate the role of single cell responses of the hippocampal formation of the avian brain on spatial navigation and the neural bases of biological motion perception.
With Debbie Kelly at the Department of Psychology, Univ. of Saskatchewan, Canada, we are investigating numerical (ordinal) and spatial cognition in the avian brain, comparing domestic chicks and Clark nutcrackers.
With Dr Brian McCabe and Professor G. Horn, at Cambridge University, we have an ongoing collaboration to investigate early genes expression in the avian brain associated with biological predisposition in recognition of animated objects.
With Prof. Angelo Quaranta (Dept. Veterinary Medicine, Univ. Bari) we are involved in a research project investigating cerebral lateralization in dogs, and the possible use of measures of behavioural lateralization for the assessment of animal welfare. With Dr. Katia Spiezo, at the Parco Natura Viva, Bussolengo (VR) and Gillian Forrester (Sussex University, U.K.) we have an ongoing project to investigate cerebral lateralization and intuitive probabilities in several species of non-human primates.
For the complete list of publications, visit U-Gov catalogue, here.
SINISCALCHI, M., FRANCHINI, D., PEPE, A.M., SASSO, R., DIMATTEO, S., VALLORTIGARA, G., QUARANTA, A. (2010). Volumetric assessment of cerebral asymmetries in dogs. Laterality, in press
VALLORTIGARA, G., REGOLIN, L., CHIANDETTI, C., RUGANI, R. (2010). Rudiments of mind: Insights through the chick model on number and space cognition in animals. Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews, in press.
VALLORTIGARA, G., CHIANDETTI, C., SOVRANO, V.A. (2010). Brain asymmetry (animal). Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, in press.
SINISCALCHI, M., SASSO, R., PEPE, A.M., DIMATTEO, S., VALLORTIGARA,G.,QUARANTA, A. (2010). Catecholamine plasma levels followingimmune-stimulation with rabies vaccine in dogs selected for their paw preferences.Neuroscience Letters, in press.
ROSA SALVA, O., DAISLEY, J.N., REGOLIN, L. VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Time dependent lateralization of social learning in the domestic chick (Gallus gallus domesticus): effects of retention delays in the observed lateralization pattern. Behavioural Brain Research, 212, 152-158.
VALLORTIGARA, G., CHIANDETTI, C., RUGANI, R., SOVRANO, V.A., REGOLIN, L. (2010). Animal Cognition. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, in press.
FRASNELLI, E., ANFORA, G., TRONA, F., TESSAROLO, F., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Morpho-functional asymmetry of the olfactory receptors of the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Behavioural Brain Research, 209: 221-225.
FRASNELLI, E., VALLORTIGARA, G., ROGERS, L.J. (2010). Response competition associated with right-left antennal asymmetries of new and old olfactory memory traces in honeybees. Behavioural Brain Research, 209: 36-41.
SINISCALCHI, M., SASSO, R., PEPE, A.M., VALLORTIGARA, G., QUARANTA, A. (2010). Dogs turn left to emotional stimuli. Behavioural Brain Research, 208: 516-521.
PECCHIA, T., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Re-orienting strategies in a rectangular array of landmarks by domestic chicks (Gallus gallus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, in press.
BROWN, J., KAPLAN, G. , ROGERS, L.J. , VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Perception of biological motion in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): by females only. Animal Cognition, 13: 555-564.
ROSA SALVA, O., FARRONI, T., REGOLIN, L., VALLORTIGARA G., JOHNSON, M. (2011). The Evolution of Social Orienting: Evidence from Chicks (Gallus gallus) and Human Newborns, PloS-one, in press.
CHIANDETTI, C., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Animals’ representation of enclosed spaces: Evidence for use of a similar frame of reference following different disorientation procedures in the domestic chick (Gallus gallus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, in press.
RUGANI, R., KELLY, D.M., SZELEST, I., REGOLIN, L., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Is it only humans that count from left to right? Biology Letters, published on line before print DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0960 .
CHIANDETTI, C, VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Experience and geometry: Controlled-rearing studies with chicks. Animal Cognition, 13: 463-470.
MASCALZONI E., REGOLIN, L., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Innate sensitivity for self-propelled causal agency in newly hatched chicks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107: 4483-4485.
DAISLEY, J.N., VALLORTIGARA, G., REGOLIN, L. (2010). Logic in an asymmetrical (social) brain: Transitive inference in the young domestic chick. Social Neuroscience, first published on: 22 February 2010 (iFirst).
ANFORA, G., FRASNELLI, E., MACCAGNANI, B., ROGERS, L.J., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2010). Behavioural and electrophysiological lateralization in a social (Apis mellifera) and in a non-social (Osmia cornuta) species of bee. Behavioural Brain Research, 206: 236-239.
MORGANTE, M., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2009). Animal welfare: Neuro-cognitive approaches. Italian Journal of Animal Sciences, 8: 255-264.
VALLORTIGARA, G. (2009). Original Knowledge and the Two Cultures. In: The Two Cultures: Shared Problems. Edited by Carafoli E, Danieli GA, Longo G.O., pp. 125-145, Springer Verlag.
ROSA SALVA, O., DAISLEY, J.N., REGOLIN, L., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2009). Lateralization of social learning in the domestic chick (Gallus gallus domesticus): Learning to avoid. Animal Behaviour, 78: 847-856.
CLARA, E., REGOLIN, L., VALLORTIGARA, G., ROGERS, L.J. (2009). Chicks prefer to peck at insect-like elongated stimuli moving in a direction orthogonal to their longer axis. Animal Cognition, 12: 755-765.
MACNEILAGE, P.F., ROGERS, L.J., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2009). Origins of the left and right brain. Scientific American, 301: 60-67.
RUGANI, R., FONTANARI, L., SIMONI, E., REGOLIN, L., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2009). Arithmetics in newborn chicks. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 276: 2451-2460.
VALLORTIGARA, G., SOVRANO, V.A., CHIANDETTI, C. (2009). Doing Socrates Experiment Right: Controlled-rearing Studies of Geometrical Knowledge in Animals Current opinion in Neurobiology, 19: 20-26.
ROSA SALVA, O., REGOLIN, L., VALLORTIGARA G. (2010). Faces are special for chicks: Evidence for inborn domain-specific mechanisms underlying spontaneous preferences for face-like stimuli. Developmental Science,13, 565-57.
GHIRLANDA, S., FRASNELLI, E., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2009). Intraspecific competition and coordination in the evolution of lateralization. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B, 364: 861-866.
MASCALZONI, E., REGOLIN, L., VALLORTIGARA G. (2009). Mom’s shadow: structure-from-motion in newly-hatched chicks as revealed by an imprinting procedure. Animal Cognition, 12: 389-400.
CHIANDETTI, C., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2009). Effects of embryonic light stimulation on the ability to discriminate left from right in the domestic chick. Behavioural Brain Research, 198: 240-246.
ROGERS, L.J., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2008). From antenna to antenna: lateral shift of olfactory memory in honeybees. PLoS One, 3(6): e2340. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002340.
VALLORTIGARA G. (2008). Animals as natural geometers. In “Cognitive Biology: Evolutionary and Developmental Perspectives on Mind, Brain and Behavior” (L. Tommasi, L. Nadel, M. Peterson, eds), MIT Press, Cambridge, Ma,, in press.
VALLORTIGARA, G., SNYDER, A., KAPLAN, G., BATESON, P.P.G., CLAYTON, N.S., ROGERS, L.J. (2008). Are animals autistic savants? PLoS Biology, , 6: 208-214.
CHIANDETTI C., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2008). Spatial reorientation in large and small enclosures: Comparative and developmental perspectives. Cognitive Processing, 1612-4782 (Print) 1612-4790 (Online).
RUGANI, R. REGOLIN, L. VALLORTIGARA, G. (2008). Discrimination of small numerosities in young chicks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, in press.
CHIANDETTI C., VALLORTIGARA, G. (2008). Is there an innate geometric module? Effects of experience with angular geometric cues on spatial reorientation based on the shape of the environment. Animal Cognition, 11: 139-146.