Graduated Magna cum Laude at the University of Bologna (1991), she received her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1996. She is currently associate professor of Social Psychology at the Dept. of Education (University of Bologna), where she teaches Social Psychology and Psychology of of social exclusion and mediation.
She has been a visiting academic at the Departamento de Psicologia Social e do Desenvolvimiento, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (Vitoria, Brasil), Barcelona (Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Amsterdam, Harvard, Tufts University (USA) and Brown University (Rhode Island).
Her primary research interests include social exclusion and related psychological processes, stereotypes and prejudices, national and international migration, antisemitism. She also focuses on political and civic engagement and participation, culture and psychology and discourse analysis.
She has written on social exclusion, prejudice (toward migrants, women, Roma people), prejudice and moral dilemma, culture and mediation, political participation of youth and migrants in Italy and UK.
She has worked on the fields related to prejudices and migration, in particular on political participation of migrants in Italy and discourse analysis of Italian and regional laws (grant received from the European Commission - 7th Framework Program, FP7-SSH-2007- 1, Grant Agreement no: 225282, Processes Influencing Democratic Ownership and Participation – PIDOP – 2009-2011), and psychological processes that underline moral judgement.
2018: member of the research unit Unibo (with Elena Pacetti and Ira Vannini) Grant Erasmus + KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of Good practices – Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education) Formation of Teachers in Emerging Challenged Areas in the Philippines FORTH (Principal investigators – Rijksuniversiteit Groningen - University of Groningen – RUG and Educación para un Mondo Interdependiente Education for an Interdependent World – EDIW (Belgium) (duration: 36 months)
In the 2017 she received an academic grant from University of Bologna (Fibra) to organize a research team in Brasil (Dep. de Psicologia Social e do Desenvolvimiento, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo [https://www.researchgate.net/institution/Universidade_Federal_do_Espirito_Santo], Vitoria) on aggressive and violent behaviours in adolescence (duration: 12 months).
In partnership with the University of Pristina, Save the Children (International Programs) and the Ministry of Education of Kosovo University, in the 2013 (duration 1 year) she has developed the project “Early Childhood Care and Development Situation Analysis” in Kosovo, a research with teachers, children, parents and political institution in the fields of social exclusion, social and cultural factors that influences the children condition in this country (http://images.savethechildren.it/IT/f/img_pubblicazioni/img236_b.pdf ).
She has conducting research at the national level:
2013 - 2015 Member of research unit “Mobility without boundaries. Internal migration and social dynamics in Europe"(Coordinator: Bruno Riccio - University of Bologna).
2009 - 2011 Member of the research unit of the University of Bologna (Coordinator: Prof. Bruna Zani) appointed by the Ministry of Health, National Center for Prevention and Disease Control, to conduct the research "Perception of health risks arising from environmental threats, with particular reference to depleted uranium. Building a framework for corporate communication. "
2008 - 2010 Coordinator of the Project "Processes gender in higher schooling: issues and educational potential" (Dept. of Education - duration 24 months).
2006- 2008 – Member of the research unit - Project PRIN 2005113197 "Individual and social skills in the management of critical events in the community. Proposal of an intervention model", (coordinator: Prof. Elvira Cicognani).
2005 -2006 Principal investigator of research Funding ex 60% of the University of Bologna "Orientation to social dominance and prejudice against immigrants".
2003 - 2005 Member of the research unit - Project PRIN 2003111478 "Contexts of life, critical events and social support: effects on coping strategies and well-being in adolescents and young", (coordinator: Massimo Santinello, University of Padua).
2001 - 2003 Member of the research unit Project PRIN 2001118889 "From action to the social sense of community. Study of the forms of social participation in groups of adults" (coordinator: Bruna Zani).
2000- 2002 Member of the research unit Project PRIN "Feelings of insecurity and sense of social integration in urban environments: a study on the risk factors and protective factors in groups of adolescents" (coordinator: Bruna Zani).
• At the University of Amsterdam she attended a course "Introduction to the analysis of the socio-political discourse" held by prof. Teun A. van Dijk (26 September- December 5).
• Member of the research unit funded by the National Research Council "The Mediterranean System" non-EU immigration in Italy (coordinator: Bruna Zani).
1992/1993 member of the research unit "Systems of shared beliefs and behaviors, relationship between psychiatric patients and communities" created by the Center "Gian Franco Minguzzi" and the Region of Emilia Romagna, conducted a study with Professor Bruna Zani and Dr. Maria Augusta Nicoli on "Prototypes of deviant behavior: drug addicts, the mentally ill, the homeless and immigrants."
Her work in progress deals with the relationships between national and international migration, prejudices toward Roma people (with the University of Verona, University of Chieti- Pescara, University of Espirito Santo - Brasil), moral dilemmas in psychological judgment toward migrants and prejudice and marginality at the national and international contexts (especially in Brasil and Philippines).
CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS: Paola Villano authored or co-authored more than 65 presentations at national and international meetings and conferences.