As result of research activities started in 2011 at the University of Catania, I have had the pleasure to constitute an Interdipartimental Research Center NewHums, NeuroHumanities Studies, that I direct and that is linked with an international multidisciplinary research-platform with a prestigious Board of Directors, created in 2011. This in order to share knowledge and to develop transdisciplinary projects about the linkage of humanities and neuroscientific research.
The NewHums Research Center collaborates with the major international Institutions working on this field of research. On a national level it collaborates with other research institutes (like the Italian National Center of Research – CNR) and no-profit Association Ingresso Libero (learning by arts). Our actual research focus is “Imagination” in visual art, literature and performative arts, both in theoretical and pragmatic way. In order to enhance this transdisciplinary research aim, the University of Catania has restored and reopened an old theatre, now property of the University, Teatro Machiavelli, where the NeuroHumanitieStudies research group has developed many laboratory works.
As far as imagination is concerned, we work on the interconnection of mental imagery with the kinesthesis of the living body. One of the projects included in the program of the research group is dedicated to examining the imaginative processes triggered by reading, particularly by reading literary texts.
For this reason I’m very interested in WG 3 Experiential and emotional aspects of reading. In fact, a specific section of our work on imagination will be dedicated to analysing and testing the difference in the emotive response by reading printed or digital texts. The research will be conducted together with some researchers from the Italian CNR Institute and some experiments will involve students and actors of the ArtLab at the Machiavelli Theatre in Catania, as well as scientific trial conducted with the neuroscientific colleagues working with eye-tracking and EEG.
On the other hand, working as active member of the Scientific Board of ArtLab (the University Laboratory dedicated to developing strategies of “edutainment” and “education by arts”) implies a specific interest for the WG2: Developmental aspects of reading. We are particularly interested in testing the possible improvement of language and metaphorical skills by reading literary texts both in printed and digital version.