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Developmental psychopathology, psychology of socio-environmental domain and of educational processes

Research Center
Research Area


Dr.ssa Carolina Bonivento
PsyD, Research Unit Coordinator
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Dott. Brambilla Paolo
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+39 0432.559148 - Laboratory

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Our research focused on developmental psychopathology in child and adolescents: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), common emotional-behavioural problems (attention, anxiety/mood, and behavioural/conduct disorders, phobias), evaluation of risk for future psychopathology.

Current projects use a multimodal approach: Psychopathologic and neuropsychological assessment, structural and functional brain imaging, in-depth genetics and immunology analyses. We are also interested in environmental factors that condition the development of problems, also from an epigenetic perspective, with particular regard to twins cohorts.


  • Deviations from typical brain development associated to risk of psychopathology. Multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques used in clinical samples, at-risk participants, and normal population of child/adolescents, with specific interest in structural and functional brain connectivity.
  • Neuroimaging in twins samples and specific clinical groups (e.g., ASD e attention disorders) and comparison with normal population child/adolescents controls.
  • Development of MRI protocols for study of emotional regulation and functional connectivity and plasticity (following default network paradigms).
  • Study and adaptation to Italian context of assessment tools, as: scales and risk profiles (interviews and questionnaires) e cognitive and neuropsychological markers (performance tests, focusing on attention and prefrontal functions).
  • Longitudinal assessment of emotional-behavioural problems and of at-risk conditions (i.e., application of risk assessment and neurocognitive markers).
  • Multimedia rehabilitation techniques in ASD, as Virtual Reality (i.e., navigation in simulated environments) and Video-Modelling (i.e., habitation of every-day-life competences).
  • Genetic and epigenetic study on discordances and on hereditability of personality traits and risk status, with particular regard to twins samples.

Selected publications

  • Bellani, M., Garzitto, M., & Brambilla, P. (2012). Functional MRI Studies in Disruptive Behaviour Disorders. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 21(1), 31–33. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796011000692
  • Bellina, M., Brambilla, P., Garzitto, M., Negri, G. A. L., Molteni, M., & Nobile, M. (2013). The Ability of CBCL DSM-Oriented Scales to Predict DSM-IV Diagnoses in a Referred Sample of Children and Adolescents. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 22(4), 235–246. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-012-0343-0
  • Bianchi, V., Brambilla, P., Garzitto, M., Colombo, P., Fornasari, L., Bellina, M., … Nobile, M. (2017). Latent Classes of Emotional and Behavioural Problems in Epidemiological and Referred Samples and Their Relations to DSM-IV Diagnoses. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 26(5), 549–557. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-016-0918-2
  • Bonivento, C., Tomasino, B., Garzitto, M., Piccin, S., Fabbro, F., & Brambilla, P. (2017). Age-Dependent Changes of Thinking about Verbs. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11(Article 40), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00040
  • Colombo, P., Brambilla, P., Bellina, M., Bianchi, V., Garzitto, M., Busti Ceccarelli, S., … Nobile, M. (2015). Deficit di regolazione emotiva in età evolutiva: analisi dei profili di funzionamento in un campione clinico italiano. Quaderni Di Psicoterapia Cognitiva, 36(1), 103–115. https://doi.org/10.3280/QPC2015-036008
  • Delvecchio, G., Garzitto, M., Fagnani, C., Fornasari, L., Stazi, M. A., Picardi, A., … Brambilla, P. (2016). Normative Data and Effects of Age and Gender on Temperament and Character Dimensions across the Lifespan in an Italian Population: A Cross-Sectional Validation Study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 204, 83–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.06.014
  • Diwadkar, V. A., Re, M., Cecchetto, F., Garzitto, M., Piccin, S., Bonivento, C., … Brambilla, P. (2017). Attempts at Memory Control Induce Dysfunctional Brain Activation Profiles in Generalized Anxiety Disorder: An Exploratory fMRI Study. Psychiatry Research - Neuroimaging, 266(November 2016), 42–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2017.05.010
  • Fornasari, L., Garzitto, M., Fabbro, F., Londero, D., Zago, D., Desinano, C., … Brambilla, P. (2012). Twelve Months of TEACCH-Oriented Habilitation on an Italian Population of Children With Autism. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 58(3), 145–158. https://doi.org/10.1179/2047386912Z.00000000018
  • Fornasari, L., Picardi, A., Garzitto, M., Gigantesco, A., Sala, M., Romanò, M., … Brambilla, P. (2015). Reliability and Normative Data of the Perceptual Aberration Scale in an Italian Juvenile General Population Sample. Psychiatry Research, 228(3), 495–500. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2015.05.058
  • Garzitto, M., Picardi, A., Fornasari, L., Gigantesco, A., Sala, M., Fagnani, C., … Brambilla, P. (2016). Normative Data of the Magical Ideation Scale from Childhood to Adulthood in an Italian Cohort. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 69(8), 78–87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2016.05.007
  • Moretti, A., Nobile, M., Garzitto, M., Marini, A., Fornasari, L., Negri, G. A. L., … Brambilla, P. (2013). Increased Internalizing Problems in Children Aged 4 to 12 With Language Impairments. Journal of Psychological Abnormalities in Children, 1(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.4172/jpac.1000102
  • Perlini, C., Marini, A., Fabbro, F., Garzitto, M., Cerruti, S., Marinelli, V., … Brambilla, P. (2010). P03-104. Linguistic Production and Comprehension Deficits in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. European Psychiatry, 25(Supplement 1), 1083. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0924-9338(10)71073-7
  • Perlini, C., Marini, A., Garzitto, M., Isola, M., Cerruti, S., Marinelli, V., … Brambilla, P. (2012). Linguistic Production and Syntactic Comprehension in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 126(5), 363–376. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01864.x


  • Prof. Carlo Altamura, Department of Psychiatry, University of Milan, Fondazione Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.
  • Prof. Matteo Balestrieri, Psychiatric Clinic, University of Udine, Udine, Italy.
  • Dr. Marcella Bellani, Psychiatric Clinic, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.
  • Dr. Vaibhav A. Diwadkar and Prof. Jeffrey Stanley, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.
  • Dr. Corrado Fagnani and Dr. Maria Antonietta Stazi, Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma, Italy.
  • Prof. Franco Fabbro, Prof. Lucio Cottini and Prof. Luca Chittaro, University of Udine, Udine, Italy.
  • Dr. Roberto Furlan and Prof. Gianvito Martino, Clinical Neuroimmunology Unit, Ospedale San Raffaele di Milano, Milan, Italy.
  • Dr. Monzani, Centro per l'Individuazione e l'Intervento Precoce nelle Psicosi – Programma 2000, Ospedale Niguarda Ca’ Granda di Milano, Milan, Italy.
  • Dr. Maria Nobile and Dr. Molteni, Scientific Institute IRCCS Eugenio Medea, Bosisio Parini, Lecco, Italia.


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