Lorenzo Diana


Born in Verbania (Italy), I earned my Bachelor Degree in Psychology in 2013 (University of Milano-Bicocca), and my M.Sc. Degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and Clinical Neuropsychology in 2015 (University of Padova). My M.Sc. thesis was concerned with the interaction of visuo-spatial attention and cognitive load in stroke patients with left-brain injuries. From 2016 to 2018 I worked as research assistant at the University of Bern and the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital of Bern, Inselspital. Under the supervision Prof. Dr. Med. René Mueri e del PD Dr. Dario Cazzoli, we investigated the interaction between spatial and non-spatial aspects of attention, as well as creativity and divergent thinking. Since November, 2018 I am a Ph.D. student in Clinical Neuroscience in the Laboratory for Multisensory and Neuromodulation Research (Prof. Nadia Bolognini, University of Milano – Bicocca). My research interests focus on spatial attention and its modulation by means of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (tES and TMS) in both neurologically healthy subjects and brain-lesioned patients with acquired attentional disorders.


Modulation of cortical networks of attention by means of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques combined with eye tracking

  • Track: Clinical Neuroscience
  • Tutor: Nadia Bolognini


The present project aims to investigate the efficacy of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques such as transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in modulating the activation of crucial nodes of the attentional network. The effect of such neuromudulatory techniques will be studied in neurologically healthy subjects. Visuo-spatial attention will be investigated by means of eye tracking recording, which showed a great potential to study attentional phenomena and allows to test the effects of brain stimulation in more ecological paradigms. My final aim is to gather new pieces of evidence to be applied in the field of assessment and rehabilitation of acquired disorders of attention following brain damage.


Hemispatial neglect (HN) is a neuropsychological syndrome characterised by a failure or decreased capacity to report, respond or orient to significant stimuli in the contralesional side of space (Heilman & Van Den Abell, 1980). HN occurs more frequently and its symptoms are more persistent after lesions of the right hemisphere (Bowen, McKenna, & Tallis, 1999). Treatment of HN is an issue of great importance, as its presence is an independent predictor of poor functional recovery (Di Monaco et al., 2011). Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques, such as transcranial electrical (tES) and transcranial magnetic (TMS) stimulations, have been proved to be promising approaches for treating HN  (Fan, Li, Yang, Qu, & Li, 2018). However, the interaction of different factors including size and location of the brain lesion, as well as the choice of stimulation parameters (e.g., stimulation intensity and duration, target area etc.) makes further investigation necessary to unravel NIBS full potential in the neuropsychological setting.


Both healthy subjects and neglect patients will undergo NIBS sessions where the effect of real vs. sham neurostimulation over parietal cortices, important hubs for visuo-spatial functions, will be tested by means of paper-and-pencil and computerised tasks of visuo-spatial attention such as landmark task, visual search tasks and eye-tracked free visual exploration task. Participants will be tested before the stimulation (Time 0), right after the stimulation (Time 1), and 120 min after the stimulation (Time 2) to assess the duration of the stimulation effects.


Chapters in book

  • Bolognini, N., & Diana, L. (in press). Multimodal association of tDCS with electroencephalography. In Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Neuropsychiatric Disorders (2nd Edition). Springer, Cham.


  • Diana, L., Pilastro, P., N. Aiello, E., K. Eberhard-Moscicka, A., M. Müri, R., & Bolognini, N. (2021, May). Saccades, attentional orienting and disengagement: the effects of anodal tDCS over right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) and frontal eye field (FEF). In ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications (pp. 1-7).
  • Diana, L., Frei, M., Chesham, A., de Jong, D., Chiffi, K., Nyffeler, T., … & Müri, R. M. (2020). A divergent approach to pareidolias—Exploring creativity in a novel way. Psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and the arts.
  • Hartmann, M., Sommer, N. R., Diana, L., Müri, R. M., & Eberhard-Moscicka, A. K. (2019). Further to the right: viewing distance modulates attentional asymmetries (‘pseudoneglect’) during visual exploration. Brain and Cognition, 129, 40-48.
  • Paladini, R. E., Diana, L., Zito, G. A., Nyffeler, T., Wyss, P., Mosimann, U. P., … & Cazzoli, D. (2018). Attentional reorienting triggers spatial asymmetries in a search task with cross-modal spatial cueing. PloS one, 13(1), e0190677. 
  • Paladini, R. E., Diana, L., Nyffeler, T., Mosimann, U. P., Nef, T., Müri, R. M., & Cazzoli, D. (2016).       The asymmetrical influence of increasing time-on-task on attentional disengagemet. Neuropsychologia, 92, 107-114.