Dr Carlo De Lillo

Associate Professor

School/Department: Psychology and Vision Sciences, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 229 7193



MA (Laurea) Experimental Psychology, University of Rome "La Sapienza" (first class) 1988

Postgraduate diploma in Psychodiagnostics, University of Rome "Sacro Cuore" 1989

Postgraduate specialisation in Neuroscience of States of Consciousness, University of Rome "La Sapienza" 1989

PhD University of Edinburgh 1994


My research uses experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience and comparative methods. I use techniques which include immersive virtual reality, brain stimulation and neuropsychological testing.  I am interested in cognitive assessment, with particular reference to visual and spatial memory and cognition, working memory, attention, executive functions, search and foraging. My research has been funded by the BBSRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, Experimental Psychology society, Wellcome Trust and Nuffield foundation.  


Palumbo, M., Spinozzi, G., Truppa, V., & De Lillo, C. (2023). Spatial frequency and global–local visual processing in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.) and humans (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 137(1), 16–28.

Mukaetova-Ladinska, E. B., De Lillo, C., Arshad, Q., Subramaniam, H. E., & Maltby, J. (2022). Cognitive Assessment of Dementia: The Need for an Inclusive Design Tool. Current Alzheimer research, 19(4), 265–273.

Smith, A. & De Lillo, C. (2022). Sources of variation in search and foraging: a theoretical perspective. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 75(2) 197–231

Talbot, S., Gerdjikov, T. & De Lillo, C. (2022). Two Variations and One Similarity in Memory Functions Deployed by Mice and Humans to Support Foraging. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 75(2): 245–259.

De Lillo, C. (2019). Variations in the Beneficial Effects of Spatial Structure and Serial Organisation on Working Memory Span in Humans and Other Species. In: Hodgson, T. (eds) Processes of Visuospatial Attention and Working Memory. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences, vol 41. Springer, Cham.

Truppa, V. Carducci, P. De Simone, D.A., Bisazza, A. & De Lillo, C. (2017) Global/local processing of hierarchical visual stimuli in a conflict-choice task by tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.). Animal Cognition, 20: 347-357.

De Lillo, C., Kirby, M., & Poole, D. (2016). Spatio-Temporal Structure, Path Characteristics, and Perceptual Grouping in Immediate Serial Spatial Recall. Frontiers in psychology7, 1686.

Truppa, V., De Simone, D.A. & De Lillo, C (2016) Short-Term Memory Effects on Visual Global/Local Processing in Tufted Capuchin Monkeys (Sapajus spp.). Journal of Comparative Psychology,

Truppa, V., De Simone, D.A., Piano Mortari, E. & De Lillo, C. (2014). Effects of brief time delays on matching-to-sample abilities in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.). Behavioural Brain Research, 271: 240-248.


De Lillo, C. Kirby, M. & James, F.C. (2014). Spatial working memory in immersive virtual reality foraging: path organisation, travelling distance and search efficiency in humans (Homo sapiens). American Journal of Primatology, 76: 436-446.

Shah, D.S., Prados, J., Gamble, J. De Lillo, C. & Gibson, C.L. (2013). Sex differences in spatial memory using serial and search tasks. Behavioural Brain Research, 257:90-99.

De Lillo, C. & James, F.C. (2012). Spatial working memory for clustered and linear configurations of sites in a virtual reality foraging task. Cognitive Processing, 13(Suppl1): S243-246.

De Lillo, C. Palumbo, M., Spinozzi, G. & Giustino, G. (2012). Effects of pattern redundancy and hierarchical grouping on global-local visual processing in monkeys (Cebus apella) and humans (Homo sapiens). Behavioural Brain Research, 226: 445-455.

De Lillo, C. (2012). The use of spatial structure in working memory: a comparative standpoint. In: D. McFarland, K. Stenning & M. McGonigle-Chalmers (Eds.), The Compex Mind: an Interdisciplinary Approach. Chippenham & Eastbourne, Palgrave-MacMillan, pp. 38-54.

Fagot, J. & De Lillo, C. (2011). A comparative study of working memory: immediate serial recall in baboons (Papio papio) and humans. Neuropsychologia. 49: 3870-3880.

De Lillo, C. Spinozzi, G., Palumbo, M. & Giustino, G. (2011). Attention allocation modulates the processing of hierarchical visual patterns: a comparative analysis of capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and humans. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. 37(3): 341-352.

Ashton, R & De Lillo, C. (2011). Association, inhibition and object permanence in dogs' (Canis familiaris) spatial search. Journal of Comparative Psychology. 125(2): 194-206.

De Lillo, C. & Lesk, V (2010). Spatial clustering and hierarchical coding in immediate serial recall. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 22(2): 216-246.

Spinozzi, G., De Lillo, C. Truppa, V., Castorina, G. (2009). The Relative Use of Proximity, Shape Similarity and Orientation as Visual Perceptual Grouping Cues in Tufted Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella) and Humans (Homo sapiens). Journal of Comparative Psychology.123(1): 56-68

De Lillo, C., Spinozzi, G. & Truppa, V. (2007). Pattern recognition in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella): the role of the spatial organisation of stimulus parts. Behavioural Brain Research,  181:96-109

Spinozzi, G., De Lillo, C., & Salvi, V. (2006). Local advantage in the visual processing of hierarchical stimuli following manipulations of stimulus size and element numerosity in monkeys (Cebus apella). Behavioural Brain Research, 166: 45-54.

De Lillo, C., Spinozzi, G., Truppa, V. & Naylor, D.M. (2005). A comparative analysis of global and local processing of hierarchical visual stimuli in young children and monkeys (Cebus apella). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 119(2): 155-165.

Spinozzi G., De Lillo, C. & Castelli, S. (2004). Detection of "Grouped” and "Ungrouped" parts in visual patterns by tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 118(3): 297-308.

De Lillo, C. (2004). Imposing structure on a Corsi-type task: evidence for hierarchical organisation based on spatial proximity in serial spatial memory. Brain and Cognition, 55(3): 415-426.

Spinozzi, G., De Lillo, C. & Truppa, V. (2003). Global and local processing of hierarchical visual stimuli in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 117: 15-23.

De Lillo, C. (2001). Robotic search: what's in it for comparative cognition? The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24(6): 1057.

De Lillo, C., Floreano, D. & Antinucci, F. (2001) Transitive choices by a simple, fully connected, backpropagation neural network: implications for the comparative study of transitive inference. Animal Cognition, 4: 61-68.

De Lillo, C., Aversano, M., Tuci, E. & Visalberghi, E., (1998) Spatial constraints and regulatory functions in monkey's (Cebus apella) search. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 112: 353-362.

De Lillo, C. & McGonigle, B.O. (1997) The Logic of Searches in Young Children (Homo sapiens) and Tufted Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella). International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 10: 1-24.

De Lillo, C., Visalberghi, E. & Aversano, M. (1997) The Organisation of Exhaustive Searches in a "Patchy" Space by Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus apella). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 111: 82-90.

De Lillo, C. (1996). The serial organisation of behaviour by non-human primates: an evaluation of experimental paradigms. Behavioural and Brain Research, 81:1-17.

De Lillo, C. & Visalberghi, E. (1996). Poche scimmie, troppa teoria. Sistemi Intelligenti. VII, 2: 322-326.

Visalberghi, E. & De Lillo, C. (1995). Understanding primate behaviour: a cooperative effort of field and laboratory research, in E. Alleva, A. Fasolo, H.P. Lipp, L. Nadel & L. Ricceri (Eds.). Behavioural Brain Research in Naturalistic and Semi-naturalistic Settings: Possibilities and Perspectives, Nato ASI Series, Serie D: Behavioural and Social Siences, Kluwer Press, Dordrecht, pp. 413-424.

De Lillo, C. & Visalberghi, E. (1994). Transfer Index and Mediational Learning in Tufted Capuchins (Cebus apella), International Journal of Primatology, 15, 2: 275-287.

Vitale, A., Visalberghi., & De Lillo, C. (1990). Responses to a Snake Model in Captive Crab-Eating Macaques (Macaca fascicularis ) and Captive Tufted Capuchins (Cebus apella), International Journal of Primatology, 12, 3: 277-385.









I am an experienced PhD supervisor and would be interested in supervising projects in the area of memory, working memory, perceptual organisation, executive functioning, search and foraging, also in relation to the variations in these functions caused by ageing and individual differences. 


I am the co-ordinator of undergraduate courses on Information Processing and Cognition and on Clinical and Cognitive Neuropsychology. 

I am the lead of three related MRes programmes in Research  Methods in Psychology, Human Cognitive Neuroscience and the Psychology of Mental Health. I am also the co-ordinator of a course on Professional Research Skills as part of these MRes programmes.

I give lectures on a variety of topics, including: evolutionary psychology, memory and visual perception, cognitive and clinical neuroscience of spatial cognition, visual cognition and executive functions.      

Press and media

I would be happy to engage with the media for questions related to my areas of research and expertise, including issues related to the evolution of human cognition.


Member of the Experimental Psychology Society

Associate editor for the Special Issue on Sources of Variation in Search and Foraging of the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

Evaluator Cyprus Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF)


National Research Council of Italy (CNR) Research Fellowship, 1995-96. 

Student Union Superstar Award for Best Inclusive Practice, 2023.

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