My research interests revolve around understanding the neurocognitive and behavioral mechanisms that, interacting with genetic and environmental factors, drive variability in the developmental trajectory throughout infancy and childhood.
I am interested in the early development of basic sensory functions supporting information sampling and their cascading effects on perceptual and socio-cognitive learning. This interest spans both typical and atypical development.
My research questions centre on the following topics:
- Nature and role of the interplay between bottom-up mechanisms (low level sensory precision) and top-down mechanisms (high level contextual expectancy) in supporting the early development of perceptual and socio-cognitive learning in infants at familial risk of developing ASD, ADHD and infants without a family history of neurodevelopmental disorders.
- Neurophysiologically plausible scheme explaining this hierarchical message passing interplay in typical cohorts and possible early markers of its aberrations in infants at familial risk of developing ASD and ADHD.
My research methods are neural techniques (EEG-ERPs) and behavioral techniques (eye-tracking and behavioral assessment scales).
June 2016 – October 2016
Research Assistant at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
Research project: “A retrospective study linking subcortical auditory processing in childhood to early language development in infancy”
Supervisors: Prof. Denis Mareschal, Dr. Teodora Gliga, Dr. Adam Taylor Tierney
November 2015 – October 2016
Visiting Research Assistant at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
Research project: “Studying ASD and ADHD risks in siblings”
Supervisors: Prof. Mark Johnson & Dr. Teodora Gliga
May 2015 – September 2015
Visiting Research Assistant at Harvard Medical School
Research project: “The development and the neural bases of emotion processing”
Supervisor: Prof. Charles Nelson
June 2014 – May 2015
MSc Student /Research Assistant
Research project: “The emergence of cortical specialization for agency perception: a neuroconstructivistic approach”
Supervisor: Prof. Francesca Simion
Graduate Teaching Assistant at Birkbeck, University of London
Academic activity: Teaching activity for BSc and MSc students in Psychology carried out at Birkbeck, University of London
Academic areas: Introduction to Research Methods, Advanced Research Methods
Technical activity: EEG (EGI System) Babylab management
Birkbeck, University of London
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience,
University of Padova
Master of Science (MSc), Cognitive Neuroscience and Clinical Neuropsychology, Distinction
University of Bergamo
Bachelor of Science (BSc), Clinical Psychology, Distinction
Visiting research assistantship scholarship in the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience awarded by the European Commission for Training & Education
MSc studentship offered by Bim Oglio Foundation based on academic standing
BSc graduation award offered by the University of Bergamo based on academic standing
Piccardi, E.S., Johnson, M.H, Gliga, T., Tactile sensory gating in infant siblings of children with ASD or ADHD and age-matched controls
International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), San Francisco
Piccardi, E.S., Johnson, M.H, Gliga, T., The role of alpha-band brain oscillations as a somatosensory gating mechanism: evidence from infant siblings of children with ASD or ADHD and age-matched controls
Cutting EEG Symposium (CuttingEEG), Glasgow
Piccardi, E.S., Johnson, M.H, Gliga, T., Early visual evoked potentials in infant siblings of children with ASD or ADHD and age-matched controls
Cognitive Science Society Meeting, Computational Foundations of Cognition (CogSci), London
Piccardi, E.S., Lunghi, M., Simion, F., Visuo-spatial orienting triggered by biological motion direction: ERP evidence from 6-month-old infants
XXIV Biennal Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD), Vilnius; V Edition Rovereto Conference on Cognition and Evolution (CogEvo), Trento; XXIX National Congress on Developmental Psychology (AIP), Padova; I Lancaster Conference on Infant and Child Development (LCICD), Lancaster.