Sonia Betti


My main research interests revolve around the study of the neural bases of action perception and motor control.

I received an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Psychology and Psychobiology and a master degree in Neuroscience and Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, both at the University of Padua. I spent part of my master's studies at University College London (UCL, UK). Subsequently, I earned a Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, focusing my research on the neural correlates of motor preparation during action observation and social interaction, with a specific focus on the role of spatial attention in these processes.

In my research I often investigate actions that we perform on a daily basis, such as reaching, grasping and passing an object, as it is through these movements that we interact with our surroundings and the people in them. The study of these actions can therefore provide us with a valuable experimental window for the investigation of the role of the motor system in higher cognitive and social processes. To this end, I have conducted a series of studies aimed at understanding how we adapt and respond flexibly to the actions of others, decoding others’ intentions from movement observation. Recently, I have been investigating the role of the motor system in aversive conditioning and probabilistic learning.

In my studies I adopt a multimodal approach combining multiple experimental techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, electromyography, eye-tracking, kinematic analysis of movement, and psychophysiological measures. Over the years I have conducted my research in several Italian and foreign institutions, such as the Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders at the Institute of Neurology at UCL (UK), the University of Udine at the Body Lab Udine, and the University of Bologna at the Centre for Studies and Research in Cognitive Neuroscience, collaborating with experts in the field of motor control and neuroscience of action.

In my spare time I love to travel, hike trails in the woods, and frequent ancient libraries. I am an avid reader of mystery books and passionate about Italian food and wine delights.