Staff profile

Dr Giacomo Vivanti

Research Fellow

Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering
School of Psychological Science
Department of Psychology
Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre

Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre, Margot Prior Wing - La Trobe University Community Children’s Centre, Melbourne (Bundoora)


PhD. in Cognitive Science

Membership of professional associations

Member, International Society for Autism Research

Area of study


Brief profile

Dr Giacomo Vivanti received his PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of Siena, Italy, in 2008. He joined the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) at La Trobe University, in August 2010.

After completing a visiting fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University, and a clinical internship at the University Hospital of Siena, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California, Davis under the mentorship of Professor Sally Rogers, Professor Sally Ozonoff, and Professor Peter Mundy.

Dr Vivanti's current research is focused on the cognitive processes underlying action understanding, imitation, and social learning in Autism, and the impact of early intensive treatment on the outcomes of young children with Autism.

Dr Vivanti is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and a member of the Italian Department of the Health Committee to establish evidence-based guidelines for Autism treatment in Italy. In addition he is a consultant for University programs, scientific institutions, advocacy groups, scientific journals, and service providers across Europe, U.S.A., and Australia. He is the author of two books, several book chapters and numerous research papers published in leading peer-reviewed Psychology journals.

Research interests

Clinical and health psychology

- Autism Spectrum Disorders

Cognitive and developmental psychology

- Social Cognitive Development

Recent publications

Vivanti, G., Hamilton, A. (2014) Imitation in Autism Spectrum Disorders. In Volkmar, F., Paul, R., Rogers, S., Pelphrey, K. (Eds) The Handbook of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 4th Edition, Vol 1 - Diagnosis, Development and Brain Mechanisms, pp. 278-301, New York, Wiley

Nuske, H., Vivanti, G., Dissanayake, C. (2014). Brief Report: Evidence for Normative Resting-State Physiology in Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders DOI 10.1007/s10803-014-2068-z   

Trembath, D., Vivanti, G. (2014). Problematic but predictive: Individual differences in children with autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 2, 57-60   

Vivanti, G., Trembath, D., Dissanayake, C. (2014). Atypical monitoring and responsiveness to goal directed gaze in autism spectrum disorder. Experimental Brain Research, 232 (2), 695-701 

Zachor, D., Curatolo, P., Vivanti, G. et al. (2013) Recommendations for early diagnosis and intervention in autism spectrum disorders: An Italian–Israeli consensus conference. European Journal of Paediatric Neurology S1090-3798(13)00137-2

Vivanti, G., Barbaro, J., Hudry, K., Dissanayake, C., & Prior, M. (2013). Intellectual development in autism spectrum disorders: new insights from longitudinal studies. Fronters in Human Neuroscience, 7, 354.

Vivanti, G. (2013). Imitation in Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Treatment. In D. Riva, S. Bulgheroni & M. Zappella (Eds.), Neurobiology, Diagnosis and Treatment in Autism. An Update (pp. 161-165). Mountrouge: John Libbey Eurotext.

Vivanti, G., Hudry, K., Trembath, D., Barbaro, J., Richdale, A., Dissanayake, C. (2013) Towards the DSM 5 Criteria for Autism: Clinical, Cultural and Research Implications. Australian Psychologist, 48, 258-261

Nuske, H., Vivanti, G., Dissanayake, C. (2013). Are emotion impairments unique to, universal, or specific in autism spectrum disorder? A comprehensive review. Cognition and Emotion, 27:6, 1042-1061 

Vivanti, G., Dissanayake, C., Zierhut, C., Roger, S.J, & the Victorian ASELCC Team (2013). Brief Report: Predictors of Outcomes in the Early Start Denver Model delivered in a Group Setting. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 1717-1724

Volkmar, F., McClure, I., Van der Gaag, R., Vivanti, G., Minderaa, R. (2012) International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions Declaration on Autism.

Vivanti, G. (2012) Imitation of Body Movements. In Volkmar, F. (Ed) The Encyclopedia of Autism and Related Disorders. Springer

Colombi, C., Vivanti, G., Rogers, S. (2011). The Neuropsychology of Imitation Deficit in Autism. In Fein, D. (Ed) The Neuropsychology of Autism. Oxford University Press

Vivanti, G., Rogers, S.J. (2011). Action understanding and social learning in Autism: A developmental perspective. Lifespan and Disability, 14(1):7-29.

Vivanti, G., McCormick, C., Young, G., Abucayan, F., Hatt, N., Nadig, A., Ozonoff, S., Rogers, S. (2011). Intact and Impaired Mechanisms of action understanding in autism and typical development. Developmental Psychology, 47(3):841-56.

Panocchia, N., Bossola, M., Vivanti, G. (2010). Transplantations and mental retardation. American Journal of Transplantation, 10(4): 727-730.

Nadig, A., Vivanti, G., Ozonoff, S. (2009) Object Descriptions Under Different Communicative Demands:  How Do Children with and without Autism Adapt? Autism Research 2(6):334-47

Vivanti, G., Nadig, A., Ozonoff, S., Rogers, S. (2008): What do children with autism attend to during imitation tasks? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 101(3):186-205

Canitano, R., Vivanti. G. (2007): Tics and Tourette syndrome in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Autism, the International Journal of Research and Practice, 11(1): 19-28.