Francesco Poli, MSc

PhD student

About me

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. In my research, I combine behavioral and eye-tracking methods with computational modeling.

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?


Meyer, M., van Schaik, J. E., Poli, F., & Hunnius, S. (2021, October 29). How infant-directed actions enhance infants’ attention, learning, and exploration: Evidence from EEG and computational modeling.

Poli, F., Serino, G., Mars, R.B., & Hunnius, S. (2020). Infants tailor their attention to maximize learning. Science Advances, 6(39). [pdf]