Liverpool Hope Logo Liverpool Hope Logo
Liverpool Hope Logo

Dr Irene Senna


Research interests

I am a lecturer Liverpool Hope University. My research focuses on the contribution of multisensory experience in shaping perception and action across the lifespan and in atypical populations. Indeed, perceptual knowledge, derived from interaction with the environment, affects the senses and can even induce perceptual illusions. I study how these phenomena develop in the typical population and in the case of visual impairment. I use the results of this research to develop training protocols and assistive strategies, which rely on multisensory augmented feedback to improve mobility, navigation, learning, and social interaction of visually-impaired individuals.


After my PhD in Experimental Psychology, Linguistics and Cognitive Neuroscience in Milan, Italy, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Germany (Bielefeld University and Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology), where I investigated auditory motion perception, multisensory integration, and the use of augmented feedback in real environments and VR settings. I then moved to Ulm University (Germany), where I worked in clinical and school settings. In particular, I investigated the perceptual and sensorimotor development of young individuals with visual deficits in Ethiopia (following late cataract removal surgery) and developed sensorimotor rehabilitation strategies to help their recovery. I joined Liverpool Hope University in October 2022.

Selected Publications

  • Senna I., Pfister S., Ben-Zion I., Ernst, M.O. (2022) Recalibrating vision-for-action requires years after sight restoration from congenital cataracts, eLife, 11:e78734. 
  • Senna I., Piller S., Gori M., Ernst M.O. (2022). The Power of Vision: Calibration of auditory space after sight restoration from congenital cataracts. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 289(1984):20220768.

  • Senna I., Andres E., McKyton A., Ben-Zion I., Zohary E., Ernst M.O. (2021). Development of multisensory integration following prolonged early-onset visual deprivation. Current Biology, 31(21):4879-4885.e6.
  • Senna I., Cuturi L., Gori M., Ernst M.O., Cappagli G. (2021). Editorial: Spatial and Temporal Perception in Sensory Deprivation. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 15:671836.
  • Senna I., Cardinali, L., Brozzoli C., Farnè A. (2019). Aim and plausibility of action chains remap peripersonal space. Frontiers in Psychology, 10:1681.

  • Huelsmann F., Frank C., Senna I., Ernst M.O., Schack, T. Botsch, M. (2019). Superimposed skilled performance in a virtual mirror improves motor performance and cognitive representation of a full-body motor action. Frontiers in Robotics and AI - Virtual Environments, 6:43.
  • Senna I., Parise C.V., Ernst M.O. (2017). Modulation frequency as a cue for auditory speed perception. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1858):20170673.
  • Waltemate T., Senna I., Huelsmann F., Rohde M., Kopp S. Ernst M., Botsch M. (2016). The Impact of Latency on Perceptual Judgments and Motor Performance in Closed-loop Interaction in Virtual Reality. Proceedings VRST.
  • Senna I., Addabbo M., Bolognini N., Longhi E., Macchi Cassia V., Turati C. (2016). Infants' visual recognition of pincer grip emerges between 9 and 12 months of age. Infancy, 22(3):389-402.
  • Senna I., Parise C.V., Ernst M.O. (2015). Hearing in slow-motion: humans underestimate the speed of moving sounds. Scientific Reports, 5:14054.
  • Addabbo M., Longhi E., Bolognini N., Senna I., Tagliabue P., Macchi Cassia V., Turati C. (2015). Seeing touches early in life. PLoS ONE, 10(9):e0134549.
  • Senna I., Russo C., Parise C.V., Ferrario, I., Bolognini N. (2015). Altered visual feedback modulates cortical excitability in a mirror-box-like paradigm. Experimental Brain Research, 233(6):1921-1929.
  • Geangu E., Senna I., Croci E., Turati C. (2015). The effect of biomechanical properties of motion on infants' perception of goal directed grasping actions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 129:55-67.
  • Longhi E., Senna I., Bolognini N., Bulf H., Tagliabue P., Macchi Cassia V., Turati C. (2015). Discrimination of biomechanically possible and impossible hand movements at birth. Child Development, 86(2):632-641.
  • Senna I., Bolognini N., Maravita A. (2014). Grasping with the foot: Goal and motor expertise in action observation. Human Brain Mapping, 35(4):1750-1760.
  • Senna I., Maravita A., Bolognini N., Parise C.V. (2014). The Marble-Hand Illusion. PLOS ONE, 9(3):e91688.
  • Natale E., Senna I., Bolognini N., Quadrelli E., Addabbo M., Macchi Cassia V., Turati C. (2014). Predicting others' intentions involves motor resonance: EMG evidence from 6- and 9-month-old infants. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 7, 23-29.
  • Turati C., Natale E., Bolognini N., Senna I., Picozzi M., Longhi E., Macchi Cassia V. (2013). The early development of human mirror mechanisms: evidence from electromyographic recordings at 3 and 6 months. Developmental Science, 6(6):793-800.
  • Cacciari C., Bolognini N., Senna I., Pellicciari M.C., Miniussi C., Papagno C. (2011). Literal, fictive and metaphorical motion sentences preserve the motion component of the verb: A TMS study. Brain and Language, 119(3):149-157.
  • Bolognini N., Senna I., Maravita A., Pascual-Leone A., Merabet L.B. (2010). Auditory enhancement of visual phosphene perception: The effect of temporal and spatial factors and of stimulus intensity. Neuroscience Letters, 477(3):109-114.
  • Fortis P., Maravita A., Gallucci M., Ronchi R., Grassi E., Senna I., Olgiati E., Perrucca L., Banco E., Posteraro L., Tesio L., Vallar G. (2010). Rehabilitating patients with left spatial neglect by prism exposure during a visuomotor activity. Neuropsychology, 24(6):681-697