Dr Roberto Filippi

Senior Lecturer

Director of MULTAC (Multilanguage & Cognition Lab)

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology


Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Psychology

Roberto is a former manager with more than 20 years' experience in the international IT business. In 2011 he changed career, completing his PhD and becoming a lecturer in psychology.

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Roberto completed his PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, supervised by Professor Michael Thomas and mentored by Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith. After covering some sessional teaching posts at Birkbeck and UCL, he joined our Department of Psychology in 2011 as a lecturer in cognitive psychology.

Research interests

Roberto’s research focuses on second language acquisition and its effects on attention and executive control. Does bilingualism affect cognitive functioning in childhood and adulthood? How do bilinguals manage to control their two languages? Will brain structure change as a function of increased ability to control both languages? These are some of the most important questions that Roberto addresses in his research by using a combination of behavioural, computational and neuroimaging techniques.

Roberto is also interested in atypical development and brain degeneration due to ageing.

Areas of research supervision

  • Second language acquisition in children and adults
  • Executive functions
  • Control of interference



Language and Thought, Fundamentals of Cognitive Psychology


  • BSc Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London
  • PhD Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London
  • PGCert in Learning and Teaching, Anglia Ruskin University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow, the Higher Education Academy
  • Honorary Member, Developmental Neurocognition Lab, Birkbeck

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Leverhulme Trust, grant RPG-2015-024, £277,974

Selected recent publications

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Folke, T., Ouzia, J., Bright, P., De Martino, B. & Filippi, R. (2016). A Bilingual Disadvantage in Metacognitive processes. Cognition150, 119-132

Kerrigan, L., Thomas, M.S.C., Bright, P., & Filippi, R. (2016). Evidence of an advantage in visual-spatial memory for bilingual compared to monolingual speakers. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 1-11

Filippi, R., Morris, J., Richardson, F., Bright, P., Thomas, M.S.C, Karmiloff-Smith, A. and Marian, V., 2014. Bilingual children show an advantage in controlling verbal interference during spoken language comprehension. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition.

Filippi, R., 2014. Cerca più avanti (Italian version). E-Book available on Amazon. The English version will be online by Autumn 2014.

Filippi, R., Lenzi, M., Rasetti, M. and Bright, P., 2014. Possible effects of pramipexole on neck muscles in a patient with Parkinson's disease. Oxford Medical Case Reports 2014.1 (2014), pp.8-10.

Filippi, R., Karaminis, T., Thomas, M.S.C., 2013. Bilingual language switching in production: empirical and computational studies. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition.

Filippi, R., Leech, R., Thomas, M.S.C., Green, D.W. and Dick, F., 2012. A bilingual advantage in controlling language interference during sentence comprehension. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, DOI: 10.1017/S1366728911000708.

Filippi, R. and Karmiloff-Smith, A., 2013. Developmental Psychology. Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences. London: SAGE Publications

Filippi, R. and Karmiloff-Smith, A., 2012. What can developmental disorders teach us about typical development? Invited chapter for Marshall, C.R. (Ed.). Current issues in developmental disorders. London: Psychology Press.

Filippi, R., Richardson, F., Dick, F., Leech, R., Green, D.W., Thomas, M.S.C. and Price, C.J., 2011. The right posterior paravermis and the control of verbal interference. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(29), pp.10732-10740.