Pier Francesco Ferrari
Dipartimento di Neuroscienze
Università di Parma
Unità di Fisiologia, Via Volturno 39/E
43125 PARMA (Italy)
pierfrancesco.ferrari[at]unipr.it
(+39) 0521 903947


Academic profile

In 1997 I took my Ph.D degree in Ethology at the University of Parma.

My Ph.D work was on the neural bases of social behavior in rodents. Part of this work was carried out at the Dept. of Psychology, University of Leeds and at the St. George's Hospital, University of London, UK.

From 1997 to 1998 I worked at Tufts University in Boston, USA, with a Frank Guggenheim post-doc fellowship under the supervision of K.A. Miczek.

In 1998 I started my work as post-doc and, then as research fellow at the Department of Neuroscience.

I was appointed as contract Professor in Neuroscience in the School of Psychology.

From 2007 to 2008 I spent one year as Adjunct Scientist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, Bethesda, USA, conducting a research on cortical development in relation to cognitive functions in monkeys.

I am currently Assistant Professor in Biology at the School of Medicine at the University of Parma and adjunct Professor at the University of Ma ryland.


Research Interests

My research interests have been focused on the neuroethology of social behavior and on the cognitive processes underlying it. In the last ten years my main focus has been the role of parietal and premotor cortical functions in relation to social cognition in macaques. In particular, I'm interested in the role of mirror neurons in monkey social cognition.

My other line of research concern the development of cognitive processes in non-human primates.


My publications (clic on [PDF] link at the end of each line, to open or download the pdf file of the article)

Fogassi L., Coudé G., Ferrari P.F. (2013) The extended features of mirror neurons and the voluntary control of vocalization in the pathway to language. Language and Cognition. (In press).

Mancini G., Ferrari P.F., Palagi E. (2013) Rapid Facial Mimicry in Gelada. Scientific Reports. doi: 10.1038/srep01527. [PDF]

Bonini L., Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L. (2013) Neurophysiological bases of motor intention and understanding of intentional actions. Consciousness and Cognition. doi. 10.1016/j.concog.2013.03.001. [PDF]

Fogassi L., Coudé G., Ferrari P.F. (2012) Cortical Motor Organization, Mirror Neurons, and Embodied Language: An Evolutionary Perspective. Biolinguistics, 6, 308-337.

Vanderwert R.E., Fox N.A., Ferrari P.F. (2012) The Mirror Mechanism and Mu-Rhythm in Social Development. Neuroscience Letters, doi: S0304-3940(12)01319-5 [PDF]

Maranesi M., Bonini L., Rozzi S., Rodà F., Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L., Coudé G. (2012) Anatomo-functional organization of the ventral agranular cortex in the macaque monkey. European Journal of Neuroscience. [PDF]

Vanderwert R.E., Ferrari P.F., Paukner A., Bower S., Fox N.A., Suomi S.J. (2012) Spectral characteristic of the newborn rhesus macaque EEG reflects functional cortical activity. Physiology and Behavior. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2012.06.010 [PDF]

Bonini L., Ugolotti Serventi F., Bruni S., Maranesi M., Bimbi M., Simone L., Rozzi S., Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L. (2012) Selectivity for grip type and action goal in macaque inferior parietal and ventral premotor grasping neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology. 108(6):1607-19.

Rozzi S., Buccino G., Ferrari P.F. (2012) Mirror neurons and Imitation. In: Gollhofer A., Taube W., Nielsen J.B. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of motor control and motor learning. pp. 175-194. Routledge, New York.

Ferrari P.F., Rozzi S. (2012) Neuroni specchio, azione e relazione. Il cervello che agisce come fondamenta della mente sociale. Rivista Sperimentale di Freniatria. 136, 13-38. [PDF]

Morrill R.J.,, Paukner A., Ferrari P.F., Ghazanfar A.A. (2012) Lip-smacking develops like speech. Developmental Science, pp 1–12, doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01149.x [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Vanderwert R., Paukner A., Bower S., Suomi S.J., Fox N.A. (2012) Distinct electroencephalographic amplitude suppression to facial gestures as evidence for a mirror mechanism in newborn monkeys. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24,1165-1172. [PDF]

Steele J, Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L. (2012) From action to language: comparative perspective on primate tool use, gesture, and the evolution of human language Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B. 367, 4-9. [PDF]

Paukner A., Ferrari P.F., Suomi S.J. Delayed imitation in newborn macaques. PLoS One, 6(12):e28848, 2011. [PDF]

Chersi F., Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L. Neuronal chains for actions in the parietal lobe: a computational model. PLoS One, 6(11):e27652, 2011.

Macellini S., Maranesi M., Bonini L., Simone L., Rozzi S., Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L. Individual and social learning processes involved in the acquisition and generalization of tool-use in macaques. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B. 367, 24-36, 2011. [PDF]

Coudé G., Ferrari P.F., Rodà F., Maranesi M., Borelli E., Veroni V., Monti F., Rozzi S., Fogassi L. Neurons controlling voluntary vocalization in the macaque ventral premotor cortex. PLoS One, 6(11): e26822, 2011. [PDF]

Bonini L., Rozzi S., Ugolotti Serventi F., Simone L., Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L. Parietal and premotor grasping neurons encode action goals at distinct levels of abstraction during complex action sequence. Journal of Neuroscience. 31(15):5876-5886, 2011.

de Waal F.B. and Ferrari P.F. A bottom-up approach to the primate mind. In De Waal F.B., Ferrari P.F (eds.). The primate mind: built to connect with other minds. Harvard University Press, in press.

Ferrari P.F. and Fogassi L. The mirror neuron system in monkeys and its implications for social cognitive functions. In: De Waal F.B., Ferrari P.F (eds.). The primate mind: built to connect with other minds. Harvard University Press, in press.

Paukner A., Ferrari P.F., Suomi S.J. Comparison of neonatal imitation abilities in human and macaque infants. In: M. Banaji and S. Gelman (eds.), The Development of Social Cognition, in press.

Ferrari P.F., Coudé G. (2011) Mirror neurons and imitation from a developmental and evolutionary perspective. In A. Vilain, J.L. Schwartz, C. Abry & J. Vauclair (eds.): Primate communication and human language: Vocalization, imitation, and deixis in humans and non-humans. John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 121-138.

Bonini L., Ferrari P.F. The Evolution of mirror systems: a simple mechanism for complex cognitive functions. Annals of the New York Academy of Science. 1225:166-175, 2011. [PDF]

Casile A., Caggiano, V., Ferrari P.F. (2011)The mirror neuron system: a fresh view. The Neuroscientist. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F. and Fogassi L. (2010) Mirror neurons and primate social cognition. An evolutionary perspective. In Platt, M.L. and A.A. Ghazanfar (Eds.), Primate Neuroethology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 633-655.

De Waal F.B., Ferrari P.F. (2010) Towards a Bottom-Up Perspective on Animal and Human Cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 14, 201-207. [PDF]

Fogassi, L., Ferrari P.F. (2010) Mirror systems. WIREs Cognitive Science. DOI: 10.1002/wcs.89. [PDF]

Bonini L., Rozzi S., Ugolotti Serventi F., Luciano S., Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L. (2010) Ventral premotor and inferior parietal cortices differently contribute to action organization and intention understanding. Cerebral Cortex, 1372-1385, 20.

Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L. (2010) Mirror neurons and primate social cognition. An evolutionary perspective. In Platt, M.L. and A.A. Ghazanfar (Eds.), Primate Neuroethology. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Palagi E., Leona A., Mancini G., Ferrari P.F. (2009) Contagious yawning in gelada baboons as a possible expression of empathy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 106, 19262-19267. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Paukner A., Ionica C., Suomi S.J. (2009) Reciprocal face-to-face communication between rhesus macaque mothers and their infants. Current Biology , 19, 1768-1772. [PDF]

Paukner A., Visalberghi E., Suomi S.J., Ferrari P.F. (2009) Capuchin monkeys display affiliation towards humans who imitate them. Science, 325, 880-883, 2009. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Bonini L., Fogassi L. From monkey mirror neurons to primate behaviours: possible 'direct and indirect' pathways. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: B. 364, 2311-2323, 2009. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Parmigiani S., Palanza P. L'evoluzione della mente nei primati. In: Filograsso, N., Travaglini, R. (eds.) La mente. Franco Angeli, Milano, pp. 279-292, 2009.

Parmigiani S., Dadomo H., Brain P.F., Bartolomucci A., Palanza P., Carbucicchio A., Costantino C., Ferrari P.F., Volpi R. Bio-psychological characterization of karate practitioners: relationship between personality traits and hormonal responses in winners and losers. Aggressive Behavior, 35, 324-333, 2009.

Ferrari P.F., Paukner A., Ruggiero A., Darcey L., Unbehagen S., Suomi S.J. (2009) Interindividual differences in neonatal imitation and the development of action chains in rhesus macaques. Child Development, 80, 1057-1068, 2009. [PDF]

Rozzi S., Ferrari P.F., Gregoriou G., Bonini L., Rizzolatti G., Fogassi L. (2008) Functional organization of the inferior parietal lobule of the macaque monkey. European Journal of Neuroscience, 28, 1569-1588, 2008. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Visalberghi E. (2008) La scimmia allo specchio. Le Scienze, Febbraio, 2008.

Ferrari P.F., Coudé G., Gallese V., Fogassi L. (2008) Having access to others' mind through gaze: the role of ontogenetic and learning processes in gaze following behavior of macaques. Social Neuroscience, 3, 239-249, 2008.

Ferrari P.F. (2007) Intelligenti come scimpanzé. Darwin, Marzo-Aprile, pp.18-25, 2007.

Ferrari P.F., Gallese V. (2007) Mirror neurons and intersubjectivity. in: Braten, S. (Ed.) On being moved. From mirror neurons to empathy. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, pp. 73-88, 2007. [PDF]

Paukner, A., Anderson, J.R., Donaldson, D.I., Ferrari P.F. (2007) Cued repetition of self-directed behaviors in macaques (Macaca nemestrina). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behaviour Processes. 2007, 33, 139-147. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Coudé G., Gallese V., Fogassi L. (2007) Having access to others' mind through gaze: the role of ontogenetic and learning processes in gaze following behavior of macaques. Social Neuroscience, doi: 10.1080, 2007.

Paukner A., Anderson J.R., Fogassi L., Ferrari P.F. (2006) Do facial gestures, visibility or speed of movement influence gaze following responses in pigtail macaques? Primates. doi: 10.1007, 2006. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Visalberghi E., Paukner A., Fogassi L., Ruggiero A., Suomi S.J. (2006) Neonatal imitation in rhesus macaques. PLoS Biology, 4(9): e302, 2006. [PDF]

Fogassi L., Ferrari P.F. (2006) Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Embodied Language. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 136-141, 2006. [PDF]

Rizzolatti G., Ferrari P.F., Rozzi S., Fogassi L. (2006) The inferior parietal lobule: where action becomes perception. Novartis Foundation Symposium. 270, 129-145, 2006.

de Almeida R.M.M., Ferrari P.F., Parmigiani S., Miczek K.A. (2005) Escalated Aggressive Behavior: GABA, Dopamine and 5-HT. Preclinical, clinical studies and neuropharmacology. European Journal of Pharmacology, 526, 51-64, 2005.

Ferrari P.F., Palanza P., Parmigiani S., de Almeida R.M.M., Miczek K.A. (2005) Serotonin and aggressive behavior in rodents and nonhuman primates: Predispositions and Plasticity. European Journal of Pharmacology, 526, 259-273, 2005. [PDF]

Paukner A., Borelli E., Visalberghi E., Anderson J., Ferrari P.F. (2005) Pigtailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) recognize when being imitated. Biology Letters, 1, 219-222, 2005. [PDF]

Fogassi L., Ferrari P.F. (2005) Neurones miroir, gestes et évolution du langage. Primatologie, 6, 263-286, 2005.

Ferrari P.F., Maiolini C., Addessi E., Fogassi L., Visalberghi E. (2005) The observation and hearing of eating actions activates motor programs related to eating in macaque monkeys. Behavioural Brain Research, 161, 95-101, 2005. [PDF]

Palanza P., Della Seta D., Ferrari P.F., Parmigiani S. (2005) Female competition in wild house mice depends upon timing of female/male settlement and kinship between females. Animal Behaviour, 69, 1259-1271, 2005.

Fogassi L., Ferrari P.F. (2005) Mirror neurons, gestures and language evolution. Interaction studies. 5 (3), 345-363, 2005.

Fogassi L., Ferrari P.F., Chersi F., Gesierich B., Rozzi S., Rizzolatti G. (2005) Parietal lobe: from action organization to intention understanding. Science. 308, 662-667, 2005. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Rozzi S., Fogassi L. (2005) Mirror neurons responding to the observation of actions made with tools in the monkey ventral premotor cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 17 (2): 212-226, 2005. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Fogassi L., Gallese V., Rizzolatti G. (2003) Mirror neurons responding to the observation of ingestive and communicative mouth actions in the monkey ventral premotor cortex. European Journal of Neuroscience, 17 (8), 1703-1714, 2003. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., van Erp A.M.M., Tornatzky W., Miczek K.A. (2003) Accumbal dopamine and serotonin in anticipation of the next aggressive episode in rats. European Journal of Neuroscience, 17, 371-378, 2003. [PDF]

Gallese, V., Ferrari P.F., Umiltà, M.A. (2002) The mirror matching system: a shared manifold for intersubjectivity. Commentary. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 25 (1), 35-36, 2002. [PDF]

Gallese, V., Ferrari P.F., Kohler E., Fogassi L. (2002) The eyes, the hand and the mind: behavioral and neurophysiological aspects of social cognition. In: The Cognitive Animal, MIT Press, pp. 451-462, 2002.

Sgoifo A., Pozzato C., Costoli T., Manghi M., Stilli D., Ferrari P.F., Ceresini G., Musso E. (2001) Cardiac autonomic responses to intermittent social conflict in rats. Physiology & Behavior, 73, 343-349, 2001. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Kohler E., Fogassi L., Gallese V. (2000) The ability to follow eye gaze and its emergence during development in macaque monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. 97(25), 13997-14002, 2000. [PDF]

Holmes A., Parmigiani S., Ferrari P.F., Palanza P., Rodgers R.J. (2000) Behavioural profile of wild mice in the elevated plus-maze test of anxiety. Physiology & Behavior, 71, 5, 509-516, 2000. [PDF]

Fish E.W., Sekinda M., Ferrari P.F., Dirks A., Miczek K.A. (2000) Distress vocalizations in maternally separated mouse pups: modulation via 5HT1A, 5HT1B and GABAa receptors. Psychopharmacology, 149, 277-285, 2000.

Ferrari P.F., Palanza P., Parmigiani S. (2000) Does fear modulate the defensive and offensive types of maternal attack in mice? Aggressive Behavior, 26(2), 193-203, 2000.

Parmigiani S., Palanza P., Rodgers R.J., Ferrari P.F. Selection, evolution of behavior and animal models in behavioral neuroscience. (1999) Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 23, 957-970, 1999. [PDF]

Ferrari P.F., Lowther S., Tidbury H., Greengrass P., Wilson C.A., Horton R.W. (1999) The influence of gender and age on neonatal rat hypothalmic 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. 19 (6), 775-784, 1999.