Research Areas

Cognitive Models and Technologies: Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Social Simulation, Models of Cognition, Semantic Technologies

This Research Area (RA) focuses on the study of cognitive and socio-cognitive models and technologies in robotics, artificial intelligence, semantic technologies, social simulation. The RA includes six areas:

A) Evolutionary and situated models of behavior and cognition; Computational models of goal-directed behaviors. Artificial Life Techniques. Embodied Cognition, Adaptive Behavior, Language and Action. Study of cognition in collective systems (swarm-like environments).

B) Theories and Models of socio-cognitive attitudes: trust, decision-making dynamics and processes of reasoning, social cognition and collaborative processes, cognitive anatomy of emotions.

C) Ontological foundations of cognitive and communicative processes, knowledge engineering, conceptual modeling and software engineering. Semantic technologies for the management of knowledge as a particular case of the semantic web and of the web of data.

D) Advanced techniques of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and their use in different contexts, both industrial/productive and of greater diffusion and social relevance and which foresee the coexistence and collaboration between human agents and artificial/robotic agents, the sharing of spaces and task distribution.

E) Linguistic, Sociolinguistic and Cognitive specificities of the Speech, also as the central element of human face-to-face communication. Development of technological applications in the "automatic language processing" area: speech synthesis, automatic recognition, avatars and talking robots.

F) Agent Based Modeling (ABM) and Agent Based Social Simulation (ABSS): study of highly dynamic social phenomena through computational models that generate phenomena to be explained in a virtual environment.


Biological Models of Cognition, Neuroscience and Methodologies of Investigation of Neuro-Degenerative Diseases

This Research Area (RA) focuses on the study (and in some cases on the computational simulation) of the Biological Models that refer to cognition and also includes problems of non-invasive Translational Neuroscience, analysis of Neurophysiological Mechanisms as well as specific techniques of investigation of Diseases Neurodegenerative. It concerns five differentiated areas:

A) Biology, Behavior and Cognitive Processes of human and non-human primates.

B) Identification of Neuronal Activity Alterations for contributing to the Personalization of rehabilitation interventions in neurological or Psychiatric Diseases (Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Depression).

C) Neuro-cognitive Disorders, tracked through behavioral genetics, neuro-images, cognitive and developmental neuropsychology, and the physiology of health. Identification of neurobiological and electrophysiological correlates of behavioral dysfunction in neurological and psychiatric patients studied in comparison with healthy subjects.

D) Knowledge of the computational and neurophysiological mechanisms that underlie the ability of spatial navigation, decision and planning in the hippocampus (in particular of mice), with special reference to the phenomenon of "internally generated sequences".

E) Simulations (at a certain level of abstraction) for the study of basic brain and behavioral mechanisms, including embodied simulations, i.e. reproducing organisms that learn and express behaviors based on direct interaction with the environment, when such interaction is particularly important, as in the case of navigation behavior and spatial orientation.


Psychology of Cognitive Processes, of Development, of Communication and Interactions

This research Area (RA) focuses on the study of cognitive processes in scientific areas related to the psychology of development, of communication and social interactions. It includes three highly differentiated areas:

A) Language and Multimodality: relationships between cognitive, motor and linguistic development; typical and atypical development, acquisition and use of Sign Language; neural bases of reading and writing processes in children (normal and with disorders) and in adults, morphological-lexical, orthographic-phonological processes, and reading and writing skills.

B) Relationship between learning, socialization processes and quality of the daily life contexts for children and young people (aimed at the design of innovative social and educational policies, as well as the increase of knowledge).

C) Studies related to the understanding, interpretation and treatment of complex phenomena concerning social inclusion, personal well-being (including psychiatric), gender issues, the construction of community identity and multicultural integration.