September 09-14, 2022
Erice, Sicily, ITALY

Workshop Organizers

Conference goals

Luca Bonini (Università di Parma - Italy)
Aldo Genovesio (Università di Roma "La Sapienza" - Italy)
Pier Francesco Ferrari (Institut des Sciences Cognitives "Marc Jeannerod" - Lyon - France)

Purpose of the Workshop

Conference goals

The purpose of the Workshop is to highlight new perspectives on the brain mechanisms underlying higher cognitive processes in different species and to explore the possible homologous and analogous evolutionary trends responsible for solving similar problems in different, species-specific environments. The search for functional explanations of behaviors or cognitive processes necessarily requires an understanding of the core mechanisms of neural processing and the underlying anatomical variations among species. The traditional use of a limited number of animal models and of standard experimental paradigms with little ecological validity led some neuroscientists to narrow the interpretation of brain mechanisms and networks to a limited number of functions, overlooking the basic evolutionary concept that a single trait rarely serves a single function. Indeed, variations among species are critical for any trait evolution, rendering crucial to understand how different species adapted to different ecological niches to find solutions to specific problems and how such adjustments affected the evolution of brain circuits and functions. For example, the possibility for some animals to perform 3D rather than planar navigation allowed to identify new animal models (e.g. bats) to investigate the mechanisms involved in the brain navigational system. Furthermore, gestural or vocal communication systems characterizing different species (e.g. primates, birds, etc.) might have exploited some common neurobiological mechanisms as an evolutionary convergence to solve similar problems, despite the use of different codes. In this workshop, we aim at fostering interdisciplinary exchanges between scholars, students and researchers from different fields of sciences - particularly Neuroscience, Ethology and Psychology - in order to offer a comparative analysis of fundamental neurobiological processes involved in social and spatial cognition, vocal and gestural communication, decision-making, learning and memory. By bringing together leading figures in science working with different species, from invertebrates to vertebrates including humans, we will outline an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of basic mechanisms of brain organization and functioning in a comparative perspective.

Speakers & Topics

Luca Bonini

Social remapping in a comparative perspective

Lars Chittka

Learning and memory in insects

Beatrice De Gelder

A species specific body network to explain social behavior across species

Pier Francesco Ferrari

Ontogeny and neurobiology of social behavior in human and non-human primates

Aldo Genovesio

From goal to action in prefrontal cortex

Katalin Gothard

The neurobiology of primate amygdala in social interactions

Binyamin Hochner

Divergence and convergence evolution of learning and memory mechanisms in the octopus brain

Giandomenico Iannetti

Peripersonal action fields across species

Tadashi Isa

Sensorimotor and cognitive functions of blindsight macaques

Christian Keysers

From emotional contagion to harm aversion - a cross-species perspective

Gilles Laurent

Why are comparative approaches needed in neuroscience?

Hugo Merchant

Representation of rhythmic timing on the neural population dynamics of the primate premotor cortex

Richard D. Mooney

Neurobiology of vocalizations in mammals and birds

Andreas Nieder

Brains for numbers

Camillo Padoa-Schioppa

Neural mechanisms of economic decision

Rony Paz

Neural bases of affective memory in primates

Marco Tamietto

Not blind to (e)motion: blindsight in men and monkeys

Nachum Ulanovsky

Space coding in bats

Giorgio Vallortigara

Building up a social brain: predisposed learning in filial imprinting

Sylvia Wirth

From space to schema in the macaque hippocampus