SCRIBO Seminars 2022

Writing and the Brain

Writing is a complex aspect of human behavior which is indisputably a cultural development rather than an innate phenomenon. As a creation, it has underlying principles and mechanisms that need an exhaustive investigation. While there is a wide interest in the scholarly community to engage with the neuroscience of reading, little attention has been paid to writing in its cognitive aspects, especially from a diachronic perspective, from the earliest signs to current modes (emojis, logos, and semasiography).

All signs and symbols made by humans are the product of our interaction with the environment around us and the architecture and constraints in our visual cognition. Studying sign-shape selection and understanding their underlying principles, is therefore crucial as it has the potential offer tremendous insight into human cognition, to ultimately answer: what is the connection between marks/emblems/symbols/icons and true writing? 

The third season of SCRIBO Seminars will look at Writing and the Brain. We will invite neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, linguists, paleoanthropologists, archaeologists and philosophers. We will look at emblems, icons, symbols, and signs, from the deepest recesses of human history to today’s forms of expression, to try and understand how these are inserted into coherent, recognizable cognitive, linguistic and cultural patterns.

Organised by Prof. Pia Campeggiani (Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies), Dr. Mattia Cartolano and Prof. Silvia Ferrara (Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies)

Vittorio Gallese

Our first guest speaker is Prof Vittorio Gallese (University of Parma) with the title ‘The Artification of Habits. From Tools to Symbols’ on Friday 6th May, at 4.30pm CET.

Marianna Marcella Bolognesi

The second guest speaker is Prof Marianna Marcella Bolognesi (University of Bologna) with the title ‘Writing Beyond Words. Multimodal Metaphors and Symbols’ on Friday 20th May, at 4.00pm CET.

Carlo Severi

The third guest speaker is Prof Carlo Severi (Laboratorie d'anthropologie sociale - Collège de France) with the title ‘On Complex Picture-Writings’ on Friday 17th of June, at 4.30pm CET.

Enza Elena Spinapolice

The fourth guest speaker is Prof Enza Elena Spinapolice (University of Rome - La Sapienza) with the title ‘Signs and Modern Behaviour’ on Friday 24th of June, at 4.30pm CET.


Anna Bonifazi


The fifth guest speaker is Prof Anna Bonifazi (University of Colone) with the title ‘Meaning without sentence’ on Friday 1st of July, at 4.30pm CET.