Ilaria GRAZZANI is Full Professor in Developmental and Educational Psychology at the Department of Human Sciences for Education ‘R.Massa’, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (Milan, Italy), and Director of the Laboratory for Developmental and Educational Studies in Psychology (Lab-PSE). In her Department, she is president of the Research Quality Assurance Committee and PQA’s contact, research branch. She coordinates various national and international projects, including the EU Erasmus+ KA3 project PROMEHS ( 

Her main research interest is the development of children’s social cognition, including the role of specific intervention programs in promoting children’s theory of mind and socio-emotional competence. She is part of various scientific organisations, such as EADP (European Association on Developmental Psychology), ISRE (International Society for Research on Emotions), ENSEC (European Network for Social and Emotional Competence) and ICIS (International Congress for Infant Studies), and Associate Editor for Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, Infant Mental Health Journal (IMHJ) and International Journal of Emotion Education (IJEE).

Selected publications

2023- 2020

-Cavioni, V., Conte, E., Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V., Cefai, C.,  Anthony, C., Elliott, SN, & Pepe, A. (2023). Validation of Italian students’ self-ratings on the SSIS SEL brief scales, Frontiers in Psychology,  2023, DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1229653

-Margarida Frade dos Santos, Celeste Simões, Anabela Caetano Santos, Paula Lebre and Ilaria Grazzani (2022). Does online implementation make a difference in the effects of a mental health curriculum at schools? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19, 16990. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192416990.

-Colomoeischi A., Duca, D., Bujor, L., Rusu, P., Grazzani, I., Cavioni, V. (2022). Impact of a school mental health program on children’s and adolescents’ socio-emotional skills and psychosocial difficulties. Children, 9, 1661.doi: 10.3390/children9111661

-Martinsone, B., Stokenberga, I., Grazzani, I. (2022). Monitoring system of implementation of the promoting mental health at schools (PROMEHS) program. Frontiers in Psychology. 13:1043001. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1043001

-Poulou, M., Grazzani, I., Cavioni, V., Ornaghi, V., Conte, E., Cefai, C., Camilleri, L. Bartolo, P. (2022). Teachers’ and students’ changes in social and emotional competences following the implementation of PROMEHS: A European program for promoting mental health at schools. Educational Research Applications. 7:205. doi: 10.29011/2575-7032-100205

-Poulou, M., Grazzani, I., Cavioni, V., Ornaghi, V., Conte, E., Cefai, C., Camilleri, L. Bartolo, P. (2022). Changes in students’ social and emotional competences following the implementation of a school-based intervention program. American Journal of Applied Psychology. 11(5), pp. 122-132. doi: 10.11648/ajap.20221105.11

-Cefai, C., Camilleri, L., Bartolo, P., Grazzani, I., Cavioni, Conte, E., Ornaghi, V., Agliati, A., Gandellini, S., Tatalovic Votrkapic, S., Poulou, M., Martinsone, B., et al. (2022). The effectiveness of a school-based, universal mental health programme in six European countries. Frontiers in Psychology, 13:925614. doi : 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.925614

-Anthony, C.J., Elliott, S.N., ….Grazzani, I. Ornaghi, V. et al. (2022). Multi-informant validity evidence for the SSIS SEL Brief Scales across six European countries. Frontiers in Psychology, 13:928189. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.928189

-Brazzelli E., Grazzani I., Pepe A. (2022). Prosocial Behavior in Toddlerhood: The Contribution of Emotion Knowledge, Theory of Mind, and Language Ability. Frontiers in Psychology.13:897812. doi: 3389/fpsyg.2022.897812

-Brazzelli E., Grazzani I. (2022). Valutare l’aiuto, la condivisione e il conforto: una batteria di prove prosociali per l’infanzia (BPS-I) (The assessment of helping, sharing, and comforting in infancy: proposal of a prosocial task battery). Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, 26(2), pp. 337-344. doi: 10.1449/102018.

-Grazzani I., Agliati, A., Cavioni, V., Conte, E. et al. (2022). Adolescents’ resilience during COVID-19 pandemic and its mediating role in the association between SEL skills and mental health, Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 801761. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.801761

-Martinsone, B., Supe, I., Stokenberga, I., Damberga, I., Cefai, C., Camilleri, L., Bartolo, P., O’Riordan, M.R., & Grazzani, I. (2022). Social emotional competence, learning outcomes, emotional and behavioral difficulties of preschool children: Parent and teacher evaluations. Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 760782. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.760782

-Martinsone, B., Stokenberga, I., Damberga, I., Supe, I., ….Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V., Camilleri, L. (2022). Adolescent social emotional skills, resilience and behavioral problems during the COVID-19 pandemic: A longitudinal study in three European countries. Frontiers in Psychiatry,13:942692. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2022.942692

-Holtge, J., Theron, L., Cowden, R.G., ….Grazzani, I. et al. (2021). A cross country network analysis of adolescent resilience. Journal of Adolescent Health, 68, pp. 580-588. Doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.07.010

-Cavioni V., Grazzani I., Ornaghi V., Agliati A., Pepe A. (2021). Adolescents’ mental health at school: The mediating role of life satisfaction, Frontiers in Psychology, 12:720628. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720628

Grazzani I., Agliati, A., Cavioni, V. et al. (2022). Adolescents’ resilience during COVID-19 pandemic and its mediating role in the association between SEL skills and mental health, Frontiers in Psychology, 13: 801761. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.801761

Grazzani I., Ornaghi V. (2021). Children’s development of social understanding. Using language games to promote the comprehension of mental states. Junior Publishing (Junior Digital), Parma (e-book).

Brazzelli E., Grazzani I. & Pepe A. (2021). Promoting prosocial behavior in toddlerhood: A conversation-based intervention at nurseryJournal of Experimental Child Psychology. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2020.105056

Ornaghi, I., Conte, E., & Grazzani, I. (2020). Empathy in toddlers: the role of emotion regulation, language ability, and maternal emotion socialization style. Frontiers in Psychology, 11:586862. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.58686262

Höltge, J., Jefferies, P., Cowden, R.G., Govender, K., Maximo, S.I., Carranza, J.S., Kapoor, B., Tomar, A., Theron, L., van Rensburg, A., Lu, S., Hu, H., Cavioni, V., Agliati, A., Grazzani, I. et al. (2021). A cross-country network analysis of adolescent resilience, Journal of Adolescent Health. DOI: 0.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.07.010.

Ornaghi, V., Grazzani, I. (2020). Lo sviluppo della comprenione sociale nei bambini. Un laboratorio linguistico per promuovere la teoria della mente e la comprensione delle emozioni. Edizioni Junior Spaggiari.

Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V., Agliati, A. & Brazzelli, E. (2020). Promoting toddlers’ development of mental-state language and social cognition: The role of conversation at nursey school. In C. Cefai & R. Spiteri (Eds.), Resilience in schools: Research and practice. University of Malta Press, Msida, Malta (pp. 73-103).

Farina, E., Ornaghi, V., Pepe, A., Fiorilli, C., Grazzani, I. (2020). High school student burnout: Is empathy a protective or a risk factor? Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 897 (doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00897


Cavioni, C., Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V., Pepe, A. & Pons, F. (2020, online). Assessing the factor structure and measurement invariance of the Test of Emotion Comprehensio (TEC): A large cross-sectional study with children aged 3-10 years. Journal of Cognition and Development. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2020.1741365


Grazzani, I., Brockmeier, J. (in press). Language games and social cognition: Revisiting Bruner. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, doi : 10.1007/s12124-019-09489-0

Conte, E., Ornaghi, V., Grazzani, I., Pepe, A., & Cavioni, V. (2019). Emotion knowledge, theory of mind, and language in young children: Testing a comprehensive conceptual model. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(2144). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02144

Ornaghi, V., Pepe, A., Agliati, A., & Grazzani, G. (2019). The contribution of emotion knowledge, language ability, and maternal emotion socialization style to explaining toddlers’ emotion regulation. Social Development, 28(3), 581-598. doi:10.1111/sode.12351



Conte, E., Grazzani, I., & Pepe, A. (2018). Social cognition, language, and prosocial behaviors: A multitrait mixed-methods study in early childhood. Early Education & Development, 29 (6), 814-830. doi:10.1080/10409289.2018.1475820

Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V., Conte, E., Pepe A., & Caprin, C. (2018). The Relation between Emotion Understanding and Theory of Mind in Children Aged 3 to 8: The Key Role of Language. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:724. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00724

Brazzelli, E., Farina, E., Grazzani, I., & Pepe, A. (2018). La misura dei comportamenti prosociali nella prima infanzia: uno studio di validazione del CPBQ. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, 3, pp. 581-596. doi: 10.1449/91522


Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V., Pepe, A., Brazzelli, E., & Rieffe, C. (2017). The Italian version of the Empathy Questionnnaire for 18- to 36-months-old children: psychometric properties and measurement invariance across gender of the EmQue-I13. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 14(1), 118-126. doi: 10.1080/17405629.2016.1140640.


Ornaghi V., Pepe A., Grazzani I. (2016). False-belief understanding and language ability mediate the relationship between emotion comprehension and prosocial orientation in preschoolers. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 1534. doi: 103389/fpsyg.2016.01534

Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V., Brockmeier, J. (2016). Conversation on mental states at nursery: Promoting social cognition in early childhood. European Journal of Developmental Psychology.13, (5), p. 563-581

Grazzani I., Ornaghi V., Agliati A., Brazzelli E. (2016). How to foster toddlers’ mental-state talk, emotion understanding and prosocial behavior: A conversation-based intervention at nursery school. Infancy, 21(2), 199-227.

Ciucci, E., Baroncelli, A., Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V., Caprin, C. (2016).  Emotional arousal and regulation: Further evidence of the validity of the “How I Feel” Questionnaire for use with school-age children. Journal of School Health, 86, 3, 195-203.


Grazzani I., Corti I., Ornaghi V., Antoniotti C., Pepe A. (2015). Regolazione delle emozioni, autoefficacia emotiva ed empatia: Una ricerca in preadolescenza. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, XIX, 3,429-447. doi: 10.1449/81775

Grazzani I., Ornaghi V., Riva Crugnola, C. (2015). Emotion comprehension and attachment: A conversational intervention with school-aged children. Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée/European Review of Applied Psychology, 65(6), 267-274. doi: 10.1016/j.erap.2015.10.0004

Grazzani I., Ornaghi V. (2015). La “Prova di completamento di storie sull’orientamento prosociale”: Un’esperienza per potenziare la disposizione ai comportamenti di aiuto. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, 2 (Agosto), 357-362.

Ornaghi, V., Grazzani, I., Cherubin, E., Conte, E. Piralli, F. (2015). ‘Let’s talk about emotions!’ The effect of conversational training on preschoolers’ emotion comprehension and prosocial orientation. Social Development, 24, 1, pp.166-183.


Grazzani, I. (2014). Psicologia dello sviluppo emotivo. Seconda edizione, Bologna, Il Mulino.

Ornaghi V., Brockmeier J., Grazzani I. (2014). Enhancing social cognition by training children in emotion understanding: A primary school study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 119, pp. 26-39. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2013.10.005.


Ornaghi V., Grazzani I. (2013). The relationship between emotional-state language and emotion comprehension: A study with school-age children. Cognition and Emotion, 27, 2, pp. 356-366.

Grazzani I., Ornaghi V. (2012), How do use and comprehension of mental-state language relate to theory of mind in middle childhood? Cognitive Development, 27, pp. 99-111.

Grazzani I., Ornaghi, V. (2011), Emotional state talk and emotion understanding: A training study with preschool children, Journal of Child Language, 38(5), pp. 1124-1139.

Ornaghi V., Brockmeier, J., Grazzani I. (2011), The role of language games in children’s understanding of mental states: A training study, Journal of Cognition and Development, 12(2), pp. 239-259.

Grazzani I., Ornaghi V., Antoniotti, C. (2011), Children’s and adolescents’ narratives of guilt: Antecedents and mentalization, European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 8(3), pp. 311-330.

Grazzani, I., Ornaghi, V. (2002). Children’s conceptions of name: A study on metalinguistic awareness in Italian children. In J. Brockmeier, M.Wang & David R. Olson (Eds.). Literacy, Narrative and Culture, Curzon Press, Rickmond (UK), pp. 199-214.


Grazzani I., Oatley K. (1999). The experience of emotions of interdependence and independence following interpersonal errors in Italy and Anglophone Canada, Cognition & Emotion, 1, 49-63.