Guerra Silvia

I am part of the Mind(the)Plant lab at the Department of General Psychology. My research focuses on the characterization of motor cognition in plants by means of three-dimensional kinematic analysis. My main interest is to understand the mechanisms underlying the ability of plants to adapt their behaviour to an ever-changing environment and to provide new insights into the evolution of the link between perception and action in brainless organisms.

But let's start from the beginning! After high school, I left Friuli (where I was born and grew up) to study psychology at the University of Padua where I obtained my bachelor and master degrees in clinical psychology. Then I qualified to practice as a psychologist. During my undergraduate and postgraduate experiences, I approached the world of research. I investigated the neural basis of action observation in humans by means of multiple techniques such as single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (spTMS) combined with motor evoked potentials (MEPs) recording, eye-tracking and three-dimensional (3D) kinematic analysis of movement. I also investigated the multisensory nature of body ownership in adults with typical development and with autism by means of the numbness illusion.

In 2017 I came across with a new and exciting field of research namely plant cognition. Since that I have become more and more passionate about this unexplored topic. During my Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences, my research focused on how pea plants perceive environmental elements and modulate their motor behaviour accordingly to satisfy their needs. I spent a part of my doctoral program at the McMaster University in Canada, where I learned new methodologies to investigate the role of kin recognition in plant behaviour. All these experiences made me even more curious and passionate about this topic and, during my fellowship with Cariparo foundation, I investigated other aspects of plant cognition such as numerical abilities and attentional mechanisms.

Besides working in the lab, I enjoy spending time with friends, drawing and going to the gym (a very recent 'passion' that I hope will last for at least a few months). But the thing I love most (besides pizza with fries) is going back to Friuli to spend time with my family, friends and Mya, my beloved (and slightly overweight) dog.