application/pdfPoster HSS 2016(PDF | 782 KB)
2016, June 04 - July 31, Rovereto (TN) - Italy

General Information

The Harvard Summer Program in Mind/Brain Sciences is an initiative of the Harvard Mind/Brain/Behavior (MBB) Interfaculty Initiative and the Harvard Summer School in collaboration with the University of Trento. This eight-week program enrolls American and Italian students and provides a unique opportunity to study neuroscience at the Center of Mind/Brain Science (CIMeC), University of Trento.

Taught by faculty from Harvard, Harvard Medical School, University of Trento, the courses include lectures and hands-on laboratory sessions (e.g., neuroimaging demonstrations and practical sessions in the new laboratories of animal cognition). In addition to courses, students have the opportunity to learn about cognitive science research by participating in experiments, by attending talks and presentations organized at the research center, and by attending the workshops CogEvo 2016. Depending on the demand, the program may also include a noncredit Italian language class. Students enroll in two four-week courses. Instruction is in English. Courses generally run Monday through Thursday with Fridays dedicated to program outings. During the program, students receive housing and a meal plan at the University of Trento, where they have the opportunity to interact with Italian students.

Program outings and trips are designed to immerse students in Italian culture and tradition. There are hikes in the Italian Alps, a weekend getaway on Lake Garda (Italy’s largest lake), and day and overnight trips to nearby cities such as Verona, Torino, Mantova and Florence. On free weekends, students can organize additional trips to nearby lakes (Lake Caldonazzo, Lake Levico, or Lake Garda) or explore other popular destinations in Italy (in the past students visited Milan, Rome, and Tuscany).


  • Alfonso Caramazza, PhD, Daniel and Amy Starch Professor of Psychology, Harvard University -  Director of the Harvard Summer School in Cognitive /Brain Sciences, CIMeC University of Trento
  • John Assad, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
  • Giorgio Vallortigara, PhD, Professor of Psicobiology and Pshysiological Psychology, CIMeC, University of Trento -  Pro  Rector in Research, University of Trento

Course of study

During the Summer Program students will obtain credits that can be recognized by the Faculty Council of their University*. Students can choose to follow the whole program: an introductory course (MBB S-101), and an in depth course of study which constitute the second part of the program (MBB S-98). Or choose to attend half the program by following one of the two courses. Those who decide not to attend the introductory course, must demonstrate that they have already attended a course equivalent in their university. All courses are in English.

MBB S-101. Windows into the Structure of the Mind and Brain  (Alfonso Caramazza  & John Assad)

The mind/brain can be studied at multiple levels of description and with various methodologies. The course reviews methods from psycholinguistics to neuroimaging, and from computational modeling to cellular and clinical neuroscience. Each method is illustrated through laboratory demonstrations. This course is mandatory for all program participants, and it is meant to provide the neuroscience and cognitive science foundation necessary to explore specific topics in the field.   Prerequisite: none.

MBB S-98: Inside the Minds (and Brains) of Other Animals (Giorgio Vallortigara)

Studies on the developmental origins of human knowledge suggest that cognition does not arise as a blank slate. On the contrary, the human mind appears to be built on a set of core knowledge systems that represent significant aspects of the environment such as physical objects, living beings, spatial relationships, and number. Core knowledge systems are evolutionarily ancient, and they can be investigated from a comparative perspective. The course focuses on the evidence showing precocious abilities in nonhuman species to represent inert objects with their basic mechanical properties, the cardinal and ordinal aspects of numerical cognition, the geometrical relationships among spatial surfaces, and the statistical regularities of environmental stimuli. Studies suggest that the abilities associated with core knowledge systems of objects, number, and geometry are observed in animals in the absence of (or with very reduced) experience, thus supporting an innate foundation of such cognitive mechanisms.   Prerequisiti: MBB S-101 o equivalent.

Prerequisites for participation and key information

  • Applicants must be enrolled, without exception, in a three-year degree (2nd or 3rd year) or Master (1st year), Italian University
  • Enrollment is possible for the complete program (2 courses) or half program (equivalent course prerequisite required)
  • The complete cost depends on the selected program and includes course material, accommodation, meals, extra-curricular activities 
  • The courses are in English and are held at the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC), Trento and Rovereto (TN)
  • All students will be housed in the City Residence, Rovereto or in the student dorms "San Bartolomeo", Trento (TN)
  • Students with disabilities should contact the organizational office as soon as possible
  • Financial aid is available, according to the ISEE indicator; the completed application form must be submitted with the application. For further information on costs and scholarships available write to 
  • Letters of recommendation must be written in English and sent separately, directly by recommender to
  • The application form must be sent to the address: HSS- CIMeC, via delle Regole 101, 38123 Mattarello (TN) and must be received within the deadline
  • Applications deadline is postponed to April 12, 2016

*It is the student's duty to request that these credits be recognized at his/her own university