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Alessia Pannese

University of Oxford
The ABC of Self-control: Aristotle, the Brain, and (un)Consciousness
01 September 2016 -
30 June 2017


After studying law (laurea, Rome) and qualifying as a veterinary surgeon (laurea, Perugia), Alessia Pannese trained as a researcher in veterinary neuroscience (MPhil, Cambridge), human neurobiology and behaviour (MA, MPhil, PhD, Columbia), and literature and arts (MSt, Oxford). Prior to joining the Paris IAS as EURIAS Fellow, she held research positions at King's College London (as researcher in clinical experimental medicine of heroin addiction), the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences (as Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow), Columbia University (as Science Fellow), the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America (as Art & Neuroscience Fellow), and the University of Cambridge (as Wellcome Trust Fellow).

Research interests

Consciousness, self-regulation, volition, automaticity

The ABC of self-control: Aristotle, the Brain, and (un)Consciousness

Self-control is the ability to regulate and override one’s own thoughts, emotions, and actions, keeping them in line with overarching goals. Self-control is typically studied in terms of conscious executive function. Ancient philosophical notions and contemporary empirical neuroscience, however, suggest that much of human behaviour is not deliberate, but rather relies on unconscious, automatic processes. This project sets itself the objective of investigating the relation between the conscious and automatic aspects of self-control, from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Key publications

“Subcortical processing in auditory communication” (with D. Grandjean and S. Frühholz), Hearing Research, vol. 328 (October 2015), p. 67-77.

“Unconscious neural specificity for ‘self’ and the brainstem”, (with J. Hirsch), Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol. 20, n° 1-2 (2013), p. 169-179.

“The ‘I’ of the beholder: studying the ‘self’ between the humanities and neuroscience”, Medical Humanities, vol. 37, n° 2 (August 2011), p. 115-122.

11 Sep 2016 14:00 -
11 Sep 2016 15:30,
Oxford :
Sense and Sensibility in 19th-Century Addiction
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region