Laura Verga

About me LVC

I am a postdoctoral researcher working at the Basic & Applied NeuroDynamics Lab (Band lab, Maastricht University) directed by Sonja A. Kotz. I studied Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience in Milan and then moved to Leipzig where I obtained my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science. I then went back to Milan, where I did an internship in clinical neuropsychology primarily focused on sleep disorders. I am particularly interested in learning, social interaction, music cognition, clinical psychology, and in anything MRI-related.


Research

Learning and Re-learning

Are adults self-sufficient learners? Or do they benefit from the presence of a partner when learning new skills? My work aims at giving an answer to these questions. By using behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI) methods, I investigate the differences in behavior and brain networks supporting interactive learning of high-level cognitive skills. In addition, I am interested in sleep disorders, music cognition, and clinical psychology.

  • Social interaction
  • Word learning
  • Language
  • Social Cognition

Methods

  • Behavioral measures
  • Structural MRI
  • Functional MRI
  • Meta-analysis
  • Clinical investigation

Qualifications and Professional Experience

  • 04/2017 – 04/2018 Psychological Resident
    -Internship focused on clinical, diagnostic, and research issues concerning sleep disorders, to obtain the habilitation to serve as a professional psychologist.
    -Sleep Medicine Center, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Ville Turro, Milan, Italy.
  • 07/2016 – Current Project management on Aesthetics of poetry
    -Participation in an fMRI study on neural correlates of the aesthetic appreciation of poetry.
    -Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science, Leipzig, Germany
  • 11/2014 – 06/2015 Research engineer (post-doc)
    -Testing of a digital battery for the evaluation of sensorimotor abilities in Parkinson’s Disease patients and healthy controls.
    -Centre EUROMOV, Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France & Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2015 PhD in Cognitive Science (Psychology)
    -EBRAMUS (Europe BRAin and MUSic Consortium, Marie Curie grant agreement no. 238157).
    -Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science, Leipzig, Germany.
  • 10/2012 – 11/2012 Visiting researcher
    -Development of a battery of musical stimuli for a study on the effects of music on second language learning under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Bigand.
    -Laboratoire d’Etude de l’Apprentissage et du Dévelopment (LEAD), Dijon, France
  • 03/2010 – 09/2010 Intern
    -Functional and morphometric analysis of fMRI data for a study on the neural correlates of high level music perception in highly trained musicians.
    -Cognitive Neurosciences Centre, Vita – Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy
  • 2010 Master of Science in Cognitive Neuroscience
    -Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.
  • 03/2010 – 09/2010 Intern
    -Functional and morphometric analysis of fMRI data for a study on the neural correlates of high level music perception in highly trained musicians.
    -Cognitive Neurosciences Centre, Vita – Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy
  • 03/2009 – 10/2009 Undergraduate researcher
    -Research activity for fMRI and MRI studies on professional pianists.
    -Centro Eccellenza Risonanza Magnetica ad Alto Campo (CERMAC; Excellence Center for High Field Magnetic Resonance), San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy
  • 04/2006 – 07/2007 Intern
    -Study and evaluation of the most renowned sleep disorders and their investigation techniques.
    -Sleep Medicine Center, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Ville Turro, Milan, Italy.
  • 2007 Bachelor of Science in Psychology
    -Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.

Selected Publications

  • Begel, V. & Verga, L.,  Benoit, C.E, Kotz, SA, Dalla Bella, S. Test-retest reliability of the Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA). Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, in press.
  • Verga, L. & Kotz, S.A. Help me if I can’t: Social interaction facilitates adult contextual word learning. Cognition, 168: 76-90. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.06.018
  • Ferreri, L. & Verga, L. (2016) Music benefits on verbal learning and memory: When and how does it work? Music Perception, 34(2): 167-182. doi: 10.1525/mp.2016.34.2.167
  • Dalla Bella, S., Farrugia, N., Benoit, C.-E., Begel, V., Verga, L., Harding, E., & Kotz, S. A. (2016). BAASTA: Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities. Behavior Research Methods, 1–18. doi: 10.3758/s13428-016-0773-6
  • Verga, L., Bigand, E., & Kotz, S. A. (2015). Play along: Effects of music and social interaction on word learning. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1316. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01316
  • Spada, D., Verga, L., Iadanza, A., Tettamanti, M., Perani D. (2014) Melody, accompaniment and the auditory scene: an fMRI study with professional pianists. NeuroImage, 102(2): 764-775. doi: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811914007101.
  • Verga, L., & Kotz, S.A. (2013) How relevant is social interaction in second language learning? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7:550. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00550

Awards

  • Marie Curie European Community’s Seventh Framework Program under the EBRAMUS project—ITN no. 238157

For more details please send an email to laura.verga@maastrichtuniversity.nl


Links to find out more about Laura:

ResearchGate

Google Scholar

LinkedIn