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Alessia Tessari

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology

Academic discipline: M-PSI/01 General Psychology

Curriculum vitae

Alessia Tessari, PhD, MSc


Associate Professor at the University of Bologna, Italy. Department of Psychology. Professor of  “Cognitive Psychology”, "Experimental Psychology", "Sport, psychological and cognitive wellbeing".


Research interest

- Body representations

- Action imitation

- Apraxia

- Object use

- Physical exerice and cognitive abilities in children and old adults


2004 PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience cum laude at S.I.S.S.A. (International School for Advanced Studies), Trieste, Italy.

2000 Master in Forensic Psychology, University of Padova, Italy.

1998 Laurea in Experimental Psychology (Master degree), University of Padova, Italy.


Research experiences

2005-2014: Assistant Professor at the University of Bologna

Sep 2007–Feb 2008: Visiting researcher at the Centre de Neurosciences Cognitives, CNRS, Lyon, France.

2004: Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience: CONCEPTS, ACTIONS and INTENTIONS. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA.

2002: Visiting scholar at the Institute of Medicine (IME), Forschungszentrum, Jülich, Germany.

2001: Marie Curie PhD student at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN), University College London, UK.

2000: Research Assistant at S.I.S.S.A., Trieste, Italy.


Institutional and working experiences

2020 -: Member of the board of the PhD in Psychology, University of Bologna.

2019 -: coordinator for the ERASMUS exchange with the Universidade de Vigo, Spain, agreement in 9021 Physical Education, Sport Science.

2018 -: Member of the Research Commission of the Department of Psychology, University of Bologna.

2018 -: Reviewer for the Italian national research funding program (PRIN).

2016 -: Reviewer for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships (Social Science Pannel) for the European Commission.

2015 - 2017: Member of the board of the PhD in Psychological Sciences, University of Bologna.

2013 - 2014 : Member of the board of the Joint International PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Bologna.

2012-present : director of the BRACCO research group (Body Representation and ACtion COgnition), Department of Psychology, University of Bologna.

2007-2011 : Member of the Directory Board of the Department of Psychology University of Bologna.


Grants and Awards

2020: European Commission Grant (H2020-EIC-FETPROACT-2019): Multifunctional, adaptive and interactive AI system for Acting in multiple contexts (MAIA). P.I. of Research Unit

2018: NUCLEON project, Italy-Israel (co-investigator).

2017: Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, “Empowering the aging brain: potenziamento della connettività cortico-corticale del cervello senescente mediante stimolazione cerebrale non-invasiva” (co-investigator)

2015: European University Institute grant for the project “La meglio infanzia: cura dei bambini e

sviluppo delle capacità cognitive e non cognitive”. (co-investigator)

2014: Fondazione Del Monte project - “La meglio infanzia”: cura dei bambini e sviluppo delle capacità cognitive e non cognitive. (co-investigator)

2013:European Commission grant (FPT7_ICT- AAL): Remote Home-Physical Training for Seniors (MOTION) (co-investigator)

2008: European Commission grant (STREP): Emergence of communication in RObots through Sensorimotor and Social Interaction (ROSSI - Grant agreement n. 216125) (co-investigator).

2008: ISA Topic (Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna): funding for “The Sense of Body” Summer School in Cognitive Neuroscience (co-PI).

2007: PRIN “Sleep deprivation in specializing doctors: protective function of short sleep periods on cognitive performance and perceptual and motor learning” (n. 2007BNRWLP_001) (co-investigator).

2007: Marco Polo fellowship from the University of Bologna for a research period at CNRS, Lyon, France.
2005: CARISBO Foundation: “Preparation and validation of a test for the differential diagnosis of apraxia in old adults with cerebrovascular diseases” (co-investigator).
2004: Fellowship for the Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience: CONCEPTS, ACTIONS and INTENTIONS. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA.

2004: Fellowship for the “Vivian Smith Advanced Studies Institute of the International Neuropsychological Society” - Summer Institute 2004: THE HUMAN FRONTAL LOBES. Xylokastro, Greece.
2002: Award for the Conference on Cognitive and neural bases of visuomotor control (La Londe, France, September 2002).
2001: Marie Curie Host Fellowship for Early Stage Research Training.

Editorial activities

Review editor for the journal “Frontiers in Psychology".

Managing Guest Editor for the Special Issue “The Sense of Body – A multidisciplinary approach to body representation”, Neuropsychologia, 2010.

Ad hoc referee for : Brain and Cognition, Cognition, Cognitive Neuropsychology, Cortex, Experimental Brain Research, Human Brain Mapping, Journal of Cognitive Psychology, International Journal of Psychology, Memory, Neuropsychologia, Perceptual and motor skill,  PLOS one, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review .


Organized Events

International events:

An interdisciplinary Summer School on Body Representation: The Sense of Body, University of Bologna (2008)

National events:

- “Art, Dance and (Neuro)Science”, Bologna, Italy (2008)

- “Who does the body belong to?” A debate on Ethics and the Body, Bologna, Italy (2008)


External collaboration

· Dr. Ed Symes, Lecturer, School of Psychology, Plymouth, UK

· Professor Jonathan Marsden, School of Health, Plymouth, UK

· Professor Ferdinand Binkosfki, Universitätsklinikum Aachen, Germany

· Dr. Annalisa Setti, Lecturer, University College Cork, Cork, Irlanda

· Dr. Silvio Sarubbo, neurosurgerist, Ospedale Santa Chiara – Dipartimento di Neuroscienze e SFC Lab, Trento

· Prof. Alessio Toraldo, Assistant Professor, University of Pavia, Italy



  1. Ottoboni, Giovanni, Teresa Gallelli, Elena Mariani, Valentina Rebecca Soluri, Stefano Nunziata, Alessia Tessari, Jean-Pierre Savary, and Rabih Chattat. "Remote home physical training for seniors: guidelines from the AAL-supported MOTION project." European Journal of Ageing (2018): 1-13.
  2. Ottoboni, G., Milani, M., Setti, A., Ceciliani, A., Chattat, R., & Tessari, A. (2017). An observational study on sport-induced modulation of negative attitude towards disability. PloS one, 12(11), e0187043.
  3. O’Brien, J., Ottoboni, G., Tessari, A., & Setti, A. (2017). One bout of open skill exercise improves cross-modal perception and immediate memory in healthy older adults who habitually exercise. PloS one, 12(6), e0178739.
  4. Amesz, S., Tessari, A., Ottoboni, G., & Marsden, J. (2016). An observational study of implicit motor imagery using laterality recognition of the hand after stroke. Brain injury, 30(8), 999-1004.
  5. Papeo, L., Tessari, A., & Rumiati, R. (2016). Also patients with dementia need motor examination, but do we need more examination tools?. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
  6. Tessari, A., Toraldo, A., Lunardelli, A., Zadini, A., & Rumiati, R. I. (2015). STIMA: a short screening test for ideo-motor apraxia, selective for action meaning and bodily district. Neurological Sciences, 36(6), 977-984.
  7. Ottoboni, G., Russo, G., & Tessari, A. (2015). What boxing-related stimuli reveal about response behaviour. Journal of sports sciences, 33(10), 1019-1027.
  8. Sciulli, I., Ottoboni, G., Toraldo, A., & Tessari, A. (2015). The effect of ethnic bias on the automatic processing of action intentions. Giornale italiano di psicologia, 42(3), 619-628.
  9. Tessari A., Cubelli R. (2014). Route selection in action imitation: a matter of strategic choice? Cortex, 57, 277-278.
  10. G Ottoboni, R Giusti, A Gatta, E Symes, A Tessari (2014). Just do it: Embodied experiences improve Taekwondo athletes' sport performance. Sensoria: A Journal of Mind, Brain & Culture, 10, 28-33.
  11. Ottoboni G., Calimazzo E., Ceciliani A., Tessari A. (2013). Il rapporto funzionale tra l'apprendimento per imitazione e la metrica corporea: uno studio pilota con bambini. Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, XL, n.4, 839-850.
  12. Tessari A., Ottoboni G. Nicoletti R. (2013). L'effetto dell'expertise nei processi sottostanti la codifica del movimento e del corpo: uno studio su pallavolisti esperti. Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, XL, n. 3, 647-656.
  13. Ottoboni G., Iani C., Tessari A., Rubichi S. (2013). Modulation of the affordance effect through transfer of learning. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66, 2295 – 2302.
  14. Tessari A., Ottoboni G., Nicoletti R. (2013). The effect of expertise on encoding of movements and bodily indexes: a study on volleyball players. In: Proceeding of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Austin, Cognitive Science Society, Inc., , pp. 3522 – 3526.
  15. Tessari, A, Ottoboni, G, Mazzatenta, A., Merla, A, Nicoletti, R (2012). Please don't! The automatic extrapolation of dangerous intentions. PLoS ONE, 7(11): e49011.
  16. Tessari A., Ottoboni G., Baroni, G., Symes E., Nicoletti, R. (2012). Is access to the Body Structural Description sensitive to a body part's significance for action and cognition? A study of the Sidedness effect using feet. Experimental Brain Research, 218, 515-525.
  17. Jacquet, P., Jambon, V., Borghi, A.M., Tessari, A. (2012). Object Affordances Tune Observers' Prior Expectations About Tool-Use Behaviors. PLoS ONE, 7(6): e39629.
  18. Scorolli, C., Jaquet, P.O., Binkofski, F., Nicoletti, R., Tessari, A, Borghi, A.M. (2012). Abstract and concrete phrases processing differently modulate cortico-spinal excitability. Brain Research, 1488, 06-71.
  19. Jacquet, P., Binkofski, F., Tessari, A., Borghi, A.M. (2012).Can object affordances impact on human social learning of tool use? Commentary to the target article The cognitive bases of human tool use by K. Vaesen. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35, 227-228.
  20. Tessari, A, Toraldo, A, Lunardelli, A., Zadini, A, Rumiati, RI (2011). Prova standardizzata per la diagnosi del disturbo aprassico ideomotorio selettivo per tipo di gesto e tipo di effettore. Ricerche di Psicologia, 3, 311-339.
  21. Ottoboni G., Tessari A. (2011). L'effetto specifico delle discipline sportive nella predizione di un'azione di gioco: Uno studio pilota su pallavolisti e calciatori. Movimento, 27, 43-49.
  22. Tessari A., Ottoboni G., Symes E., Cubelli R. (2010). Hand processing depends on the implicit access to a spatially and bio-mechanically organized structural description of the body. Neuropsychologia, 48, 681-688.
  23. Tessari A., Tsakiris M., Borghi A.M., Serino A. (2010). The sense of body: A multidisciplinary approach to body representation. Neuropsychologia, 48, 643-644.
  24. Corradi-dell'Acqua C., Tessari A. (2010). Is the Body in the Eye of the Beholder? Visual Processing of Bodies in Individuals with Anomalous Anatomical, Sensory and Motor Features. Neuropsychologia, 48, 689-702.
  25. Tessari A., Ottoboni G., Bazzarin V., Nicoletti R. (2010). L'effetto Sidedness e la codifica del movimento implicito delle mani. Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, XXXVII (2), 523-532.
  26. Tessari, A., Cretella, L., Rumiati R.I. (2009). Route switching in imitation: should I stay or should I go? In N. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (eds.). Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, pp. 2475-2480. Amsterdam: Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
  27. Symes, E; Ottoboni, G; Tucker, M; Ellis, R & Tessari, A. (2009). When motor attention improves selective attention: the dissociating role of saliency. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 16, 1-11.
  28. Setti, A., Borghi, A.M., Tessari, A. (2009). Moving hands, moving entities. Brain and Cognition, 70, 253-258.
  29. Tessari, A., Borghi A.M. (2007) . Body image and body schema. The shared representation of body image and the role of the dynamic body schema in perspective and imitation. A commentary to Dijkerman & De Haan's “Somatosensory processes subserving perception and action”. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 30, 221-222.
  30. Tessari, A., Ottoboni, G., Bazzarin, V. (2007). Is sidedness influenced by action directionality? In: S. Vosniadou, D. Kayser & A. Protopapas (Eds.). Proceedings of the European Cognitive Science Conference 2007, 545-549. London, UK: Taylor and Francis.
  31. Bazzarin, V., Borghi, A., Tessari, A., Nicoletti, R. (2007). Is a small apple more like an apple or more like a cherry? In: S. Vosniadou, D. Kayser & A. Protopapas (Eds.). Proceedings of the European Cognitive Science Conference 2007, 83-88. London, UK: Taylor and Francis.
  32. Tessari, A., Canessa, N., Ukmar, M., Rumiati, R.I. (2007). Neuropsychological evidence for a strategic control of multiple routes in imitation. Brain, 130, 1111-1126.
  33. Rumiati, R.I., Tessari, A. “Automatic and strategic effects in human imitation” (2007). In: P. Haggard, Y. Rosetti, & M. Kawato (Eds.), Sensorimotor Foundations of Higher Cognition. Attention and Performance XXII, pp. 503-517. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  34. Tessari, A., Bosanac, D., Rumiati, R.I. (2006). The effect of learning on imitation of meaningless actions. Experimental Brain Research, 173, 507-513.
  35. Ottoboni, G., Tessari, A., Cubelli, R., Umiltà, C.A. (2005). Is handedness recognition automatic? A study using a Simon-like paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31, 778-789.
  36. Rumiati, R.I., Weiss, P.H., Tessari, A., Assmus, A., Zilles, K., Herzog, H., & Fink, G.R. (2005). Common and differential neural mechanisms supporting imitation of meaningful and meaningless actions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17, 1-12.
  37. Tessari, A., Rumiati, R.I. (2004). The strategic control of multiple routes in imitation of actions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 1107–1116.
  38. Tomasino, B., Corradi dell'Acqua, C., Tessari, A., Spiezio,C., & Ruminati, R.I. (2004). A Neuropsychological approach to motor control and imagery. Commentary to R. Grush's paper “The emulation theory of representation: motor control, imagery, and perception. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 23, 419-419.
  39. Tessari, A., Rumiati, R.I. (2002). Motor distal component and pragmatic representation of objects. Cognitive Brain Research, 14, 218-227.
  40. Tessari, A., Rumiati, R.I., Haggard, P. (2002). Imitation without awareness. NeuroReport, 13, 2531-2535.
  41. Rumiati, R.I., Tessari, A. (2002). Imitation of novel and well-known actions: The role of short-term memory. Experimental Brain Research, 142, 425-433.
  42. Pasini, M., Tessari, A. (2001). Hemispheric specialization in quantification processes. Psychological Research, 65, 57-63.