Tomaso Vecchi

Tomaso Vecchi is Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Head of the Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, and Vice-Rector at the University of Pavia, Italy. He is also Head of the Cognitive Neurostimulation Lab at the National Neurological Institute, IRCCS Mondino Foundation.

  • Memory as Prediction

    Memory as Prediction

    From Looking Back to Looking Forward

    Tomaso Vecchi and Daniele Gatti

    Theoretical reflections on memory and prediction, linking these concepts to the role of the cerebellum in higher cognition.

    What is memory? What is memory for? Where is memory in the brain? Although memory is probably the most studied function in cognition, these fundamental questions remain challenging. We can try to answer the question of memory's purpose by defining the function of memory as remembering the past. And yet this definition is not consistent with the many errors that characterize our memory, or with the phylogenetic and ontogenetic origin of memory. In this book, Tomaso Vecchi and Daniele Gatti argue that the purpose of memory is not to remember the past but to predict the future.

    Vecchi and Gatti link memory and prediction to the role of the cerebellum in higher cognition, relying on recent empirical data to support theoretical reflections. They propose a new model of memory functions that comprises a system devoted to prediction, based in the cerebellum and mediated by the hippocampus, and a parallel system with a major role for cortical structures and mediated by the amygdala. Although memory is often conceived as a kind of storehouse, this storehouse is constantly changing, integrating new information in a continual process of modification. In order to explain these characteristics, Vecchi and Gatti argue, we must change our interpretation of the nature and functions of the memory system.

    • Hardcover $35.00
  • Blind Vision

    Blind Vision

    The Neuroscience of Visual Impairment

    Zaira Cattaneo and Tomaso Vecchi

    An investigation of the effects of blindness and other types of visual deficit on cognitive abilities.

    Can a blind person see? The very idea seems paradoxical. And yet, if we conceive of "seeing" as the ability to generate internal mental representations that may contain visual details, the idea of blind vision becomes a concept subject to investigation. In this book, Zaira Cattaneo and Tomaso Vecchi examine the effects of blindness and other types of visual deficit on the development and functioning of the human cognitive system. Drawing on behavioral and neurophysiological data, Cattaneo and Vecchi analyze research on mental imagery, spatial cognition, and compensatory mechanisms at the sensorial, cognitive, and cortical levels in individuals with complete or profound visual impairment. They find that our brain does not need our eyes to "see."

    Cattaneo and Vecchi address critical questions of broad importance: the relationship of visual perception to imagery and working memory and the extent to which mental imagery depends on normal vision; the functional and neural relationships between vision and the other senses; the specific aspects of the visual experience that are crucial to cognitive development or specific cognitive mechanisms; and the extraordinary plasticity of the brain—as illustrated by the way that, in the blind, the visual cortex may be reorganized to support other perceptual or cognitive funtions. In the absence of vision, the other senses work as functional substitutes and are often improved. With Blind Vision, Cattaneo and Vecchi take on the "tyranny of the visual," pointing to the importance of the other senses in cognition.

    • Hardcover $45.00