What We Do

The interest in understanding the origins of criminal behaviour goes far back in time, to the controversial theories of Franz Josef Gall and Cesare Lombroso. Since then, some improvements and discoveries were achieved, and nowadays the body of research in forensic psychiatry has grown substantially, specially thanks to the contributions of neuroscience. In fact, despite the radical view that both Gall and Lombroso had, they got the right intuition, confirmed by recent research: the predisposition to offend (or to act in a certain way) can be associated with genetic, hormonal and neurobiological factors.

For this reason neuroscience has become the tool to investigate the source of such offending behaviour, trying to understand its motives and causes.The broader scope of Forensic Neuroscience is then to investigate the brain functioning of offenders or, more generally, the neural basis and the mechanisms that lead to break norms (social or moral) and to behave differently from the majority of people. 

Therefore, our research line in Forensic Neuroscience and Psychiatry aims to shed new light on the biological and genetic underpinnings of human behaviour. To reach our goal, we combine behavioural, genetic, physiological, computational and imaging tools, investigating the roots of aggression, pro-sociality and personality disorders.


Who We Are

Principal InvestigatorFull Professor, MD, PhDScholar, ResearchGate, Twitter
Research CollaboratorScholar, ResearchGate, Twitter
PhD StudentNeuroeconomics, Game-Theory
PhD StudentComputational Psychiatry, Reinforcement Learning
PhD StudentLie Detection, Large Language Models 
PhD StudentCognitive Biases in Legal Reasoning
PhD StudentDecision Making in Forensic Settings, Machine Learning Methods
PhD StudentAntisocial Behaviour, Human-Robot Interaction

What We Publish

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Insanity Assessment as a Way to Reduce Cognitive Biases

Scarpazza. G., Zampieri. I., Miolla. A., Melis. G., Pietrini, P., Sartori. G.Forensic Science International, 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2020.110652 

Neurobiological Correlates of Antisocial Human Behavior

Zampieri. I., Pellegrini, S., Pietrini, P.Neuroscience and Law (book chapter), 2020. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-38840-9_21

The Role of Neuroscience in the Evaluation of Mental Insanity: on the Controversies in Italy 

Scarpazza, C., Pellegrini, S., Pietrini, P., Sartori, G. Neuroethics, 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12152-017-9349-0

Neural Correlates of Imaginal Aggressive Behavior assessed by Positron Emission Tomography in Healty Subjects

Pietrini, P., Guazzelli, M., Basso, G., Jaffe, K., Graffman, J.Am J Psychiatry, 2000. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.157.11.1772

Our Collaborations

Recent Talks and Presentations

Riccardo Loconte- “Large Language Models per la rilevazione della menzogna”. V Convegno Nazionale di Psicologia Giuridica, Milano, 12-14/05/2023 

Riccardo Loconte, “Are humans bad evaluators or poor decision-makers? A human vs machine experiment”, AIP – Sezione Clinico Dinamica, University of Florence, 18-20/09/2023

Riccardo Loconte, “Fine-tuning Large Language Models for verbal lie detection”, AIP – Sezione Sperimentale, IMT School of Advanced Studies Lucca, 18-20/09/2023

Matteo Pirisi, Simona Casale, Clara Gangemi, “The Nature and Methods of Psychiatric Evaluation in Italian Criminal Trials”. 9th Conference of the Italian Society for Neuroethics (SINe), IMT School of Advanced Studies Lucca, 10-12/05/2023

Simona Casale, “Combining Forensic Psychology and AI to Standardize Forensic Evaluations”, AIP – Sezione Sperimentale, IMT School of Advanced Studies Lucca, 20/09/2023