Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Assoc Prof Gianluca Esposito

Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences

Assoc Prof Gianluca Esposito

Developmental Clinical Psychologist qualified to advance the ongoing investigations on child socio-cognitive development contributing strengths in human electrophysiology and neuroimaging, complex data modeling, and comparative physiological assessment with the aim of studying Social Interaction. I have applied neuroimaging (fMRI; fNIRS, EEG) genetic, and behavioral protocols in the context of infant socio-cognitive development, often comparing typical and atypical trajectories. Furthermore, I have experimentally explored caregiver-infant interaction across mammalian species (mice, marmosets and humans), and its implication to psychopathology. My work has produced publications, collaborations and has been recognized several times by a number of agencies from Europe, Singapore, Japan, USA and UAE. I am the main author (either first or corresponding) for the majority of my publications: 114 peer-review papers, 20 book chapters, and 1 co-edited book; Citations 1916; h-index 24; i10-index 47, data from Google Scholar). Furthermore, my studies have been published in different fields (Clinical Psychology, Biology, Neuroscience, Education), using multiple technologies (e.g. fNIRS; EEG, fMRI, ECG, EMG, GSR, Animal models; genetic assessments; pharmacological manipulations) reflecting strong independent thinking and attention to the bigger picture more than to the specific of a single research field.

Research Experiences/ Academic Positions

2014-present.. Nanyang Assistant Prof, Psychology Program, SSS - Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
2017-present. Ass Professor, Dep. Psychology & Cognitive Sci, Univ. of Trento, Italy.
2014-present. Faculty Board, PhD Program Psychological Sci., Univ. Trento, Italy.
2011-2014. Independent FP Researcher, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan.
2013. Visiting Professor, Dep. Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Univ. of Trento, Italy.
2008-present. Collaborator, Child and Family Research, NICHD-NIH, USA.
2010. JSPS Fellowship, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Tokyo, Japan.
2006-2010. Post-Doc, Department of Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.
2008 Jan. Visiting Scientist, Child and Family research, NICHD-NIH, USA.
2007 Dec. Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, USA.
2007 Nov. Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, University of Miami, USA.
2007 Sep-Oct. Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychology, University of Florida, USA.
2005-2006. Visiting PhD student, Dep. of Psychology, University of Florida, USA.
2003-2005. Research Assistant, ODFLab, University of Trento, Italy.
Research Interests
A brief description of the main research’s topic follows:
1. Comparative Physiology of Mother- Infant Interaction across mammalian Species and implication for atypical development [collaboration with \RIKEN Brain Science Institute (Japan), University of Nagasaki (Japan), University of Chiba (Japan) & ODFLab, University of Trento (Italy)]. From an evolutionary point of view, mother-infant interaction is essential for the survival of mammalian infants. Therefore both mothers and infants are equipped with neural mechanisms that favor mother-infant interaction and are paramount for the development of mammalian infants. This study using genetic and pharmacological manipulations in rodents as well as physiological and behavioral testing in humans, aims to investigate the neural basis of early social interaction.
2. Parenting across Cultures and Minds [with: Child and Family Research-NIH (USA), ODFLab, University of Trento (Italy), University of Nagasaki (Japan) & University of Chiba (Japan)]. Although basic physiology of parental behavior is shared across mammalian species, higher cognition about parenting is culturally based. Aim of this research is to investigate employing behavioral protocols and neuroimaging techniques, intra and cross-cultural differences about human parenting.
3. Early Bio-Markers of Autism Spectrum Disorders [with ODFLab, University of Trento (Italy), Stella Maris Institute (Italy) & University of Florida (USA)]. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) represents a complex group of behaviorally defined conditions with core deficits in social communication. At present there remains a disconnection between the complex clinical aspects of ASD and the underlying neurobiology. Using retrospective and prospective analysis, aim of this study is to define bio-markers that can be used for early screening and diagnosis of ASD.
Current Projects
  • Mother Infant,Interaction,across,Mammalian,Species:,New,Insights,for,Child,Psychopathology
  • Mother-Infant Interaction Across Mammalian Species: New Insights for Child Psychopathology
  • Neuroimaging data recruitment and analysis
  • Predicting Infant Neurophysiological Emotional Regulation: Elucidating the Roles of the Mother-Infant Synchrony, Family Environment & Genetic Predisposition
  • Relational Savoring Among Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Singapore
  • The Brain Mechanisms Behind Multiculturalism in Singapore: A Neuroscience Approach to Study In-group and Out-group Dynamics
  • Toward a multilevel model of caregiver-child bonding: Combining neuroimaging (functional Near InfraRed Spectroscopy), Genetic and Behavioural assessment
  • We are One Singapore: An investigation of the enlarged in-group effect in Singaporeans across the lifespan and in environmental contextual cues to promote multiculturalism
Selected Publications
  • Azhari A, Azizan F, Esposito G. (2019). A systematic review of gut‐immune‐brain mechanisms in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Developmental Psychobiology, .
  • Pastore L., Dellantonio S., Mulatti C., Esposito G. (2019). To be or not to be emotionally aware and socially motivated: how alexithymia impacts autism spectrum disorders. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, .
  • Gabrieli G., Leck. W., Bizzego A., Esposito G. (2019). Are Praat's default settings optimal for Infant cry analysis?. Linux Audio Conference 2019, , 83-88.
  • Cataldo, I., Azhari, A., Coppola, A., Bornstein, M., Esposito, G. (2019). The influences of drug abuse on mother-infant interaction through the lens of biopsychosocial model of health and illness: a review. Frontiers in Public Health, 7(45).
  • Esposito G. (2019). Trough the Specificity Lens: Comparative Physiology to Study Commonalities and Differences in Parent-Infant Interaction. Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), 21–23 March 2019, Baltimore, Maryland, USA..

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