New faculty are joining our department in 2019-2020 academic year!

Dr. Ausaf A. Farooqui (PhD, Cambridge University)

My research focuses on the aspects of our brain and mind that allow us to forgo our habits, learn new things, have goals and achieve them, while having an insight into what and why we are doing. One line of my work is on understanding frontal and parietal cortices. These are brain regions that activate or deactivate whenever we do anything, and whose damage leads to a decrease in fluid intelligence as well as in the ability to learn new tasks and goals. A second line of my work is on the cognitive underpinnings that allow us to be conscious and be able to control and organize our thoughts and behaviors. I use neuroimaging methods along with those of cognitive and neuropsychology. 


Dr. Alba Tuninetti (PhD, University of Pittsburgh)

Dr Alba Tuninetti is broadly interested in second language learning, bilingualism, and speech perception. Her PhD work examined how similarity to the first language, training, feedback, and cue strength influenced the neural and behavioural processing of nonnative (second language) phonemes using EEG and behavioral methods. She is also interested in bilingual speech and accent perception (as well as language processing more generally), investigating how the first language influences the second language. Her work tries to answer the questions of: what makes a language easier or harder to learn? How does bilingualism influence language learning and speech perception? What leads to humans perceiving accents, dialects, and languages differently?

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Dr. Athanasios Mouratidis (PhD, University of Leuven)

My research deals with human motivation – what people try to achieve in their everyday life, why they undertake some activities but not some others, and why some of them persist more than some others. Specifically, I am studying how social contexts, such as classroom, family, or sport-team environment, can explain people’s motivation and, in turn their, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. I have been investigating how personal characteristics and features of the social context predict independently and interactively human functioning and well-being. In most of my research I have been trying to address the simple, yet, important question of “who benefits more and under what circumstance?”. For instance, does a supportive learning environment can benefit more some students than some others? And is so, which characteristics are they key ones that may determine who might benefit more? Addressing such questions can help us understand how teachers, parents, or coaches, can become more effective and thus design more effective, tailored, interventions.