Laura Franchin


“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” (Martin Luther King, 1963).

Morality, emotions, creativity: three important areas of research that fascinates us because they present many open questions on their nature, on their development during the course of life, on their relations between them and between other cognitive and affective components. The lines of research described below aims to clarify some aspects of morality, prosocial behaviors, emotions, and creativity that are still poorly understood. 

Research directions

Morality and Emotions

Emotions are associated with social and moral transgressions. Research on the social-moral emotions inevitably faces the following question: Do different types of moral violations elicit different types of emotions?

The current line of research aims to understand whether moral violations involving harmful versus impure actions elicit distinct emotional reactions, as predicted by the Moral Foundation Theory (MFT). To test these hypothesis, the spontaneous facial expressions in response to vignettes depicting moral violations are analyzed with one of the best coding systems developed for the analysis of facial expressions, the Facial Action Coding System.

Morality and Language

The second year of life seems to be a critical period for both the moral and language development.  More specifically, there is an important evolution of infants’ appreciation of the links between words and the world and consequently a growing capacity to map the words appropriately to meaning in different domains emerges in this period.

Here, the line of research aims to investigate whether infants’ emerging moral competence is also mapped early onto an appropriate lexical item in the second year of life. 


The creative process is a dynamic system, in which originality and effectiveness are possibly in place depending both on environmental conditions and on the actors’ characteristics and actions. This line of research aims to study the moderation of the attentional, affective and personality components on the creative thinking, during the development.

Internal collaborations

Luca Surian, Full Professor
Kostantinos Hadjichristidis, Associate professor

External collaborations

Sergio Agnoli, University of Bologna, Marconi Institute for Creativity, Italy
Giovanni Corazza, University of Bologna, Italy
Janet Geipel, Chicago University, USA
Enrico Rubaltelli, University of Padova, Italy

Selected publications

Scientific articles:

  • Franchin, L., Savazzi, F., Neira-Gutierrez, I. C., & Surian, L. (in press, 2017). I comportamenti prosociali e il senso di giustizia nella prima infanzia. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo.
  • Surian, L., & Franchin, L. (2017b). Infants reason about deserving agents: A test with distributive actions. Cognitive Development, 44, 49-56. [DOI: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2017.08.009].
  • Surian, L., & Franchin, L. (2017a). Toddlers selectively help fair agents. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 944. [DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00944].
  • Ronconi*, L., Franchin*, L., Valenza, E., Gori, S., & Facoetti, A. (2016). The attentional “zoom-lens” in 8-month-old infants. (* = Co-first authorship). Developmental Science, 19(1), 145-154. [DOI: 10.1111/desc.12288].
  • Agnoli S., Franchin L., Rubaltelli E., & Corazza, G. E. (2015). An Eye-Tracking Analysis of Irrelevance Processing as Moderator of Openness and Creative Performance. Creativity Research Journal, 27(2), 125-132. [DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2015.1030304].
  • Valenza, E., Franchin, L., & Bulf, H. (2014). How a face may affect object-based attention: Evidence from adults and 8-month-old infants. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 8, 1-10. [DOI: 10.3389/fnint.2014.00027].
  • Ronconi*, L., Facoetti*, A., Bulf*, H., Franchin, L., Bettoni, R., & Valenza, E. (2014). Paternal Autistic Traits Are Predictive of Infants Visual Attention. (* = Co-first authorship). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 1556-1564. [DOI 10-1007/s10803-013-2018-1]. 


  • Agnoli, S., Corazza, G. E., Franchin, L., & Rubaltelli, E. (in prep., 2018). How do you manage evaluation? Attentive and affective constituents of creative performance under perceived frustration or success. In (Eds.) Palgrave Handbook of Social Creativity Research (pp. xx-xx). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dondi, M., Agnoli, S., & Franchin, L. (2010). A new look at the very early origins of smiling. In P. Spinozzi & A. Zironi (Eds.) Origins as a Paradigm in the Sciences and in the Humanities (pp. 131-146). Göttingen: V&R unipress.