Francesco Poli

Junior researcher

About me

HomeBabyBRAINFrancesco Poli

I am a Ph.D. student working at the Donders Institute on the cognitive mechanisms underlying infant's learning and curiosity. I am also interested in measuring individual differences in infants' cognitive abilities, to detect reliable early predictors of later cognitive performance and psychological wellbeing.

 These are some of the topics I am investigating:

  • What is unique about the cognitive mechanisms underlying curiosity in infants and preschoolers?
  • Can we predict developmental outcomes from early learning abilities?
  • How do environmental factors such as the mother's stress levels or gut microbiota impact infants' cognitive functioning?

At the moment, I am working on a project that aims to find how infants extract relevant information from the environment. Infants have so much to learn, and yet they are very good at it. We think that their secret resides in the ability to focus on relevant information, and ignore what’s irrelevant. Even if they cannot tell us this, we can monitor how their pupil dilates to understand whether they find what they see informative or not, and how their behavior changes depending on that. We are currently testing this in the Eyetracking lab!