The Centre for Neurolinguistics and Psycholinguistics (CNPL) has been founded at the end of 2016 by Prof. Jubin Abutalebi – the Director of the Centre – to pursue high-quality research devoted to the study of language as related to mind and brain. Language is the trait that most prominently distinguishes the human species from other species, and it is grounded on complex interactions between biological and cognitive functions. Understanding how language is cognitively processed in real time and how it is computed in the brain represents one of the critical challenges in contemporary human sciences. To face this challenge, CNPL uses a highly interdisciplinary approach that comprises cognitive neuroscience, experimental psychology, linguistics and neuropsychology, as well as a number of complementary non-invasive tools such as behavioral measures, functional (fMRI) and structural neuroimaging (VBM, DTI), and neurostimulation (tDCS).

One of the major research topics CNPL focuses on is bilingualism. The regular use of more than one language is an ever-increasing phenomenon in modern globalized societies, so that half of the world’s population is generally estimated to be bilingual or multilingual. However, we still know very little about the differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in terms of neural representation and processing as well as on the impact such differences might have in the course of life (e.g. in terms of maintenance of cognitive function in the elderly). The neurocognitive mechanisms underlying bilingual brain functioning are at the center of intense research at CNPL.

Besides bilingualism, our research activities extend to several issues, including: the nature of the linguistic and conceptual representations; the relationship between language and the sensory-motor system; language, brain and gender differences; linguistic and cognitive control; psycholinguistic of language production and reading; language function in neurological disease.

Science is a cumulative process, so its progress and benefits to society hinge critically on multiple scientists testing and building on each others’ work. We strongly believe that science advances only if knowledge is shared. Accordingly, we are very committed to promote education, internship programs and international collaborations.


Research carried out at CNPL concerns:

  • Bilingualism
  • The role of bi-/multilingualism in healthy aging
  • Linguistic and cognitive control
  • Psycholinguistics of word production and reading
  • Language, brain and gender differences
  • Language functions in neurological disease


Prof. Jubin Abutalebi

Board of directors:

Prof. Alessandro Del Maschio

Prof. Laura Bellodi

Prof. Jubin Abutalebi

Prof. Daniela Perani

Prof. Andrea Falini


Prof. Daniela Perani

Dr. Nicola Del Maschio

Dr. Simone Sulpizio

Dr. Marco Tettamanti

PhD Students

Virginia Borsa

Matteo Canini

Lucia Guidi

Keerthi Ramanujan (visiting PhD student, University of Hong Kong)

Master students

Carola Como

Federico Gallo

Samantha Mombelli

Michelle Toti

Elisa Vassallo

Lorenzo Zannini


Selection of representative publications (2016-2017)

Perani D, Farsad M, Ballarini T, Lubian F, Malpetti M, Fracchetti A, Magnani G, March A, Abutalebi J. (2017). The impact of bilingualism on brain reserve and metabolic connectivity in Alzheimer’s dementia. PNAS, 114, no. 7, 1690–1695, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1610909114

Consonni M, Rossi S, Cerami C, Marcone A, Iannaccone S, Francesco Cappa S, Perani D. (2017).

Executive dysfunction affects word list recall performance: Evidence from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. Journal of Neuropsychology, 11 (1), pp. 74-90

Ong G, Sewell DK, Weekes B, McKague M, & Abutalebi J (2017). A diffusion model approach to analysing the bilingual advantage for the Flanker task: The role of attentional control processes. Journal of Neurolinguistics, j.jneuroling.2016.08.002 (in press)

Borsa VM, Della Rosa PA, Catricalà E, Canini M, Iadanza A, Falini A, Abutalebi J, & Iannaccone S. (2017). Interference and conflict monitoring in individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment: A structural study of the anterior cingulate cortex. Journal of Neuropsychology, doi: 10.1111/jnp.12105  (in press)

Fasoli, F., Maass, A., Paladino, M. P., Sulpizio, S. (2017, in press). Gay- and lesbian sounding auditory cues elicit stereotyping and discrimination. Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Calcagnì A, Lombardi L, & Sulpizio S. (2017, in press). Analysing spatial data from mouse tracker methodology: An entropic approach. Behavior Research Methods.

Ghio M, Vaghi MMS, Perani D, Tettamanti, M. (2016). Decoding the neural representation of fine-grained conceptual categories. NeuroImage, 132, pp. 93-103.

Canini M, Della Rosa PA, Catricalà E, Strijkers K, Branzi FM, Costa A, & Abutalebi J. (2016). Semantic interference and its control: a functional neuroimaging and connectivity study. Human Brain Mapping, 37, 4179–4196.

Abutalebi J & Green, DW. (2016). Neuroimaging of language control in bilinguals: neural adaptation and reserve. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19, 689-698.

Bialystok E, Abutalebi J, Bak TH, Burke DM, & Kroll JF. (2016). Aging in Two Languages: Implications for Public Health. Aging Research Reviews, 27, 56-60.

Green DW & Abutalebi J. (2016). Language control and the neuroanatomy of bilingualism: in praise of variety. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31, 340-344.

Branzi FM, Della Rosa PA, Canini M, Costa A, & Abutalebi J. (2016). Language control in bilinguals: monitoring and response selection. Cerebral Cortex, 26 (6), 2367-2380.

Amenta S, Marelli M, & Sulpizio S. (2016). From sound to meaning: Phonology-to-Semantics mapping in visual word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Sulpizio S, Vespignani F, & Job R. (2016). On the time course of lexical stress priming in speech production: Behavioral and ERPs evidence from a free-stress language. Brain Research, 1648, 202-213.

Fasoli F, Mazzurega M, & Sulpizio S. (2016). When characters impact on dubbing: the role of sexual stereotypes on voice actor/actress’ preferences. Media Psychology.