Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Laboratory

As a part of the Istituto Auxologico Italiano, the Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, has started its activity in 1994. It is directed by Prof. Giuseppe Riva, Ph.D.

In its first decade, the Lab pioneered much of the applications that enabled the diffusion of Virtual Reality and Internet in the field of health care. Specifically, its research work led to the development of a new scientific discipline - Cybertherapy - integrating innovative research ranging from clinical psychology and cognition, to mobile devices and simulation apparatus.

According to ISI Web of Science, the ATN-P Lab. is within the first three labs world-wide for numbers of publications in the field of Virtual Reality and Ambient Intelligence. In its second decade, the Lab is focusing on the concepts of "presence" and "human adaptability" embedding the bits of the digital realm with the atoms of our physical world. This is producing expanded research in ambient intelligence, shared virtual world and "interreality" applications: the creation of an hybrid augmented experience merging physical and virtual worlds.

The key feature of the ATN-P Lab. is its interdisciplinary approach including cognitive scientists, clinical psychologists, programmers, 3D world developers, and biomedical engineers. ATN-P Lab. best-practice procedure model is based on experience gained from a great number of national and international projects. Strong emphasis is given to the role of prototyping and decisive orientation toward user goals.

Who's Who: Giuseppe Riva

Giuseppe Riva, Ph.D., is Associate Professor (tenure position) of General Psychology and Communication Psychology at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy.

He is also Director of the Interactive Communication and Ergonomics of NEw Technologies - ICE-NET - Lab. at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy, and Head Researcher of the the Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Laboratory - ATN-P Lab., Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Verbania Italy

According to the scientific databases ISI Web of Science, PubMed/Medline and PsycInfo Riva is the scholar who authored the highest number of peer-reviewed scientific publications in the fields of "Virtual Reality" and "Ambient Intelligence" in the world (as on January 2008). He is also 2nd worldwide in the fields of "Telepresence" and "Cybertherapy"; and within the top 25 in the field of "body image" research. For instance, using the ISI Web of Science - "Analyze Feature" with the keyword "Virtual Reality" the database reported 57 published papers (First authorship only; Rank: 1st, 1% of the total publications in the area). The second author - Darzi, A - authored 40 papers and the third one - Kim, SI - 35 (accessed on February 22, 2008.

These papers range from specialistic journals such as "Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Reality" (MIT Press) to general scientific journals such as "Science" (AAAS). Specifically, the main contribution of Riva research work is related to the impact of mediated technologies on the user's experience. Through the analysis of the cognitive processes involved in simulated realities Riva expanded the concept of "Presence" - the feeling of being there - originally developed by communication scholars.

He received his Ph.D in Social and Developmental Psychology from the Catholic University of Milan, Italy. In the ATN-P Lab. he conducted several researches and published many papers about methods and assessment tools in psychology and about the use of Virtual Reality in medicine and in training.

Member of the New York Academy of Science and the American Psychological Association, Riva is actually Associate Editor for the "CyberPsychology & Behavior" and "PsychNology" journals and Editor in Chief of the "Emerging Communication" book series.

Click here for the latest papers and books published by Riva (full papers in PDF format).



Andrea Gaggioli, M.S., Ph.D. is Senior Researcher at the Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Laboratory, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy and Researcher at the Psychology Department of UniversitÓ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, . He received his M.S. in Psychology from University of Bologna and a Ph.D. in Psychobiology from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Milan.

Andrea is a researcher working at the intersections of psychology, neuroscience, and emerging technologies. His interests include social applications of new media (social networks and mobile phones, in particular) and virtual reality, cognitive rehabilitation and the concept of flow.

Prior to working with these organizations, Andrea collaborated with the Competence Center for Virtual Reality at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, Stuttgart, Germany.



Alessandra Gorini, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate, is Researcher at the Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Laboratory, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Verbania, Italy. She received her M.S. in Psychology from University San Raffaele, Milan, Italy. Her interests include clinical applications of virtual reality and metaverse, cognitive rehabilitation and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

The institution: Istituto Auxologico Italiano

The Istituto Auxologico Italiano is a scientific institute which was born as Foundation in 1963. Its biomedical research is carried out mainly by means of the diagnosis and treatment of diseases which undermine harmonious psycho physical development, in relation to which it follows the course of various diseases over time and intervenes in terms of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.

In 1972, it was recognized by the Ministry of Health and by the Ministry for Universities and Scientific and Technological Research as an "Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico - I.R.C.C.S." (an institutes that carries out research and care activities in the biomedical field).

The Istituto Auxologico Italiano is now a private non-profit making organization, institutionally considered as falling somewhere between a private and public service. It has thus managed to combine the public service characteristics with the efficiency that is typical of private bodies, allowing a reduction in costs and appreciable results at the level of treatment.

The Istituto Auxologico Italiano has three operating health care centers:

The above mentioned centers cover an area of 185,000 m2 and have a total of 500 beds

Its diagnostic and clinical activities, which are carried out in a modern in and outpatient departments and supported by the continuous research activities of many experimental laboratories (Scientific Director: Prof. A. Zanchetti), have allowed the Istituto Auxologico Italiano to establish a consolidated presence in the field of nutrition (Laboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche Nutrizionali, headed by Prof. F. Balzola), applied psychology (Laboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche Psicologiche, headed by Prof. E. Scabini) and endocrinology (Laboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche Endocrinologico-Metaboliche, headed by Prof. F. Cavagnini).

In particular, the common work of the different laboratories leaded to an integrated approach focused on nutritional rehabilitation. The key issues of such approach are:

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