Research Interests

I’m interested in studying the neural mechanisms underlying Insight problem solving and creativity: how an idea is born, emerges, and develops in our mind. My research specializes in:

-The role played by motivational factors (e.g., risk, reward and the dopamine system) in creativity and insight problem solving.

-The role of the right anterior temporal lobe in semantic integration

-The involvement of the vision-system in Insight problem solving. “People often report having their best creative ideas while they are shutting their eyes, looking at a white wall, or out the window.” My research focuses on understanding what are the attentive correlates of this modulation.-

-The feeling of certainty that accompanying creative ideas. My research investigates if it actually corresponds to an increased accuracy in people’s responses, and how that certainty relates to motivation and risk taking in pursuit of ideas. My work includes also the first Italian validation of the Compound Remote Associates problems and the Rebus Puzzles, enabling researchers to investigate Insight problem solving among Italian speakers.

-The effects of non-Invasive Brain Stimulation on creativity and insight problem solving.


Selected Works

Salvi, C., Simoncini, C., Franconeri, S., Kounios, J., Beeman, M. & Grafman, J., Pupil dilation signals Aha! Moments. (In preparation).

Salvi, C., McKinley, R., Bikson, M., Beeman M., and Grafman, J. Right temporal transcranial direct current stimulation improves insight problem solving. (Submitted).

C. Palmiero, M., Piccardi, L., Nori, R., Palermo, L., Salvi, C., & Guariglia. (2019) Creativity: Education and RehabilitationFrontiers in Psychology.

Santarnecchi, E., G. Sprugnoli, E. Bricolo, G. Costantini, S. L. Liew, C. S. Musaeus, C. Salvi, A. Pascual-Leone, A. Rossi, and S. Rossi. (2019) Gamma tACS over the temporal lobe increases the occurrence of Eureka! moments. NatureScientific reports 9, no. 1 : 5778-5778. doi 10.1038/s41598-019-42192-z

Salvi, C., & Bowden, E. (2019). The relation between state and trait risk taking and problem-solvingPsychological research, 1-14.

Danek, A., Salvi, C., (2018). Moment of truth: Why Aha! experiences are correct. Journal of Creative Behavior. doi 10.1002/jocb.380

Cohen-Zimerman, S., Salvi, C., Krueger, F., Gordon, B. and Grafman J. (2018).  Intelligence Across the Seventh Decade in Patients with Brain Injuries Acquired in Young Adulthood. Trends in Neuroscience and Education. 13, 1-7.

Cristofori, I., Salvi, C., Beeman, M. & Grafman, J. (2018). The Effects of Expected Reward on Creative Problem SolvingCognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience.1-7.

Salvi, C., Costantini, G., Pace, A. & Palmiero (2018). Validation of the Italian Remote Associate Task. Jurnal of Creative Behavior. 1-13. 10.1002/jocb.345.

Hogeveen, J., Salvi, C., & Grafman, J. (2016). “Emotional intelligence”: Lessons from Lesions. Trends in Neurosciences, 39(10), 694–705.

Palmiero, M., Piccardi, L., Nori, R., Palermo, L., Salvi, C., Guariglia, C. (2016) Editorial: Creativity and Mental Imagery. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01280. PMID: 27610094

Salvi, C., Bowden, E. (2016). Looking Nowhere for Creativity: Where do we look when we look for new ideas? Frontiers in Psychology · doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00161

Salvi, C., Bricolo, E., Bowden, E., Kounios, J. & Beeman, M. (2016)Insight solutions are correct more often than those achieved by analysis. Thinking and Reasoning. doi:10.1080/13546783.2016.1141798

Salvi, C., Cristofori, I., Beeman, M. & Grafman, J. (2016). The politic of insight. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1136338.

Salvi, C., Bricolo, E., Franconeri, S., Kounios, J. & Beeman, M. (2015) Sudden Insight is associated with shutting down visual inputs. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. doi: 10.3758/ s13423-015-0845-0

Salvi, C., Costantini, G., Bricolo, E., Perugini, M., & Beeman, M. (2015) Validation of Italian rebus puzzles and compound remote associate problems. Behavioral Research Methods. 1-22. doi: 10.3758/ s13428-015-0597-9

Salvi, C., (2015). “Aha! ho indovinato” Cosa avviane nel nostro cervello quando abbiamo un lampo di genio. AIRInforma Journal. 
(“Aha! I got it” What happens in our brain when we have an insight).

Bricolo, E., Salvi, C., Martelli, M., Arduino, L. S. & Daini, R. (2015). The effects of crowding on eye movement patterns in reading. Acta, Psychologica, 160, 23-34. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy. 2015.06.003

Bricolo, E., Salvi, C., Martelli, M., Arduino, L.S., & Daini, R. (2010). Crowding affects eye- movements patterns in word reading. Perception 39, supplement, 29. 10281/21692

Legrenzi, P., & Salvi, C. (2008). Dual processes in reasoning and judgment. SISTEMI INTELLIGENTI /a. XX, n. 1, April 2008. Il Mulino: Bologna. doi: 10.1422/26719


Contemporary art, Street Photography and Cinema.

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