The theoretical project

It remains a vexata questio whether psychology is or should be a natural or human science. Behaviorism and, subsequently, cognitive psychology have taken a clear stance on this issue, by opting for approaches from the natural sciences. This has given new impetus to psychological research, enhancing its methods, tools for quantitative measurement, and – starting with cognitivism – its systematic rigor in the definition of mental functions and the mechanisms that implement them.

However, this choice has also had some negative consequences. It has distanced psychology from the humanities, driving it away from its aim of describing the human condition in all its complexity and diversity. It has led to an extreme fragmentation of the psychological theories. This may have been necessary to conduct experiments that are as accurate, controlled and replicable as possible, but came at the expense of extensive and comprehensive explanatory models.

The PsyHuman Lab aims to promote research and activities that reconnect psychology with the human sciences and encourage theoretical research in the field of psychology.

Research Tracks

Psychological humanities

The humanities and arts are essential means for grasping the complexity of psychic and human experience. They not only offer us first-hand materials for the study of mind, but also accurate descriptions of psychic processes.

Their function is at once descriptive and interpretative, socio-cultural and ethical. On the one hand, they help define a subject-centred and culture-bound approach to the study of the mind. On the other, they promote a perspective which recognizes that normality is an illusion and that each of us represents a unique instance of the human condition.

Philosophy of Psychology

The PsyHuman Lab, the philosophy of psychology includes two related fields of research. The first will follow a more classical line of inquiry, engaging in philosophical reflection on psychology as a science – its methods and theories – to outline the potential and limits of this discipline. The second will engage in what can be called ‘philosophical psychology’ or ‘theoretical psychology’; its purpose will be to reflect on the available empirical evidence (observational and experimental), establish new links between current theories, develop more comprehensive models, and detect theoretical contradictions that point to problems within existing models.

The Lab: What it is and what it does

The PsyHuman Lab is a virtual space for the development of research in the fields of Psychological Humanities and the Philosophy of Psychology. It promotes an inter- and multidisciplinary approach to the description of mental phenomena. Its aim is to attract researchers from different fields with a common interest in these issues.

The Lab organizes debates, conferences and seminars; it also constitutes a launch pad for creating networks and the development of research projects. Its activities are intended to foster the production of scientific papers. The laboratory also organizes training activities (courses, master programmes, summer schools, etc.) and promotes scientific dissemination in the fields of interest.

Lab Coordinators

  • Maria Coppola Micaela (Psychological Humanities)
  • Sara Dellantonio (Philosophy of Psychology)

Members of the Lab


  • Binelli, Andrea (Università degli Studi di Trento, Italia)
  • Caponi, Paolo (Università Statale di Milano)
  • Di Blasio, Francesca (Università degli Studi di Trento, Italia)
  • Francesconi, Sabrina (Università degli Studi di Trento, Italia)
  • Gubert, Carla (Università degli Studi di Trento, Italia)
  • Perletti, Greta (Università degli Studi di Trento, Italia)
  • Polli, Chiara (Università degli Studi di Trento, Italia) 
  • Vallorani, Nicoletta (Università Statale di Milano)


  • Pastore, Luigi (Università degli Studi di Bari, Italia)
  • Araujo de Freitas, Saulo (Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil)


International Summer School in Psychological Humanities and Cognitive Science (PsyHuman), Rovereto, July 2021.

Main Publications on the topics of the Lab

Coppola, M.M., Il fiume carsico della dimenticanza: amnesie individuali, silenzi collettivi e cure im/possibili nelle narrazioni cinematografiche della demenza”, Altre Modernità, n. 24, 11/2020, pp. 153-167. ISSN 2035-7680. 

Coppola, M.M., “Il fiume carsico della dimenticanza: amnesie individuali, silenzi collettivi e cure im/possibili nelle narrazioni cinematografiche della demenza”, in Altre Modernità, n. 24, 11/2020, ISSN 2035-7680, in corso di stampa.

Coppola, M.M., “La mente in chiaroscuro: Note per una definizione delle psychological humanities”, Elephant & Castle. Laboratorio dell’immaginario, n. 22, giugno 2020, ISSN 1826-6118, pp. 4-22. 

Coppola, M.M., “The Quest for Insight and Empathy in Alice Munro’s Stories of Dementia”, Le Simplegadi (rivista fascia A ANVUR), vol. XVII, no. 19, novembre 2019, pp. 128-138. ISSN 1824-5226. 

Coppola, M.M., “Psychiatric Fictional Pathography: The Alzheimer’s Brain in Lisa Genova’s Still Alice and Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness”, Textus. English Studies in Italy, vol. XXXII (2019), no. 2 (May August), pp. 61-76. ISBN: 978-88-430-9562-9 – ISSN: 1824-3967.

Coppola, M.M., “‘A child of the sun’: The Limits of Empathy in Katherine Mansfield’s Short Fiction”, in Maria Elena Jaime de Pablo (ed.), Remaking the Literary Canon in English: Women Writers, 1880-1920, Editorial Comares, Granada, 2018, pp. 97-103. ISBN 978-84-9045-748-1.

Coppola, M.M., “Legere et non intelligere est negligere: narrare e comprendere le malattie da demenza”, Milagro Martín Clavijo, Mercedes Gonzáles de Sande, Daniele Cerrato, Eva María Moreno Lago (editoras), Locas. Escritoras y Personajes Femininos Cuestionando las Normas, ArCiBel Editores, Sevilla, 2015, pp. 380-388. ISBN: 978-84-15335-66-5.

Coppola, M.M., “Dead eye. Dead I”: Telling Stories at the End in Ali Smith’s Hotel World”, in R. Colombo, L.M. Crisafulli, F. Ruggieri (a cura di), Challenges for the 21st Century. Dilemmas, Ambiguities, Directions, vol. I, Literary Studies, Edizioni Q, Roma, 2011, pp. 63-70. ISBN 978-88903969-8-4.


Dellantonio, S., Pastore, L. (2020). Ignorance, misconceptions and critical thinking. In Synthese, Online First, pp. 1-29. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-019-02529-7

Dellantonio, S., Pastore, L., S., Mulatti (2020). Credenze paranormali: un’ipotesi cognitiva. Sistemi intelligenti, 2(3), 317-339.

Pastore, L., Dellantonio, S., Job. R. (2019). Il critical thinking e l’arte di ragionare bene. Giornale italiano di psicologia, XLVI, n. 4, pp. 877-885.

Pastore, L., Dellantonio, S. (2019) L’identificazione percettiva e la consapevolezza delle emozioni: alessitimia, agnosia e il ruolo delle sensazioni qualitative. Sistemi intelligenti, XXXI/1.

Pastore, L., Dellantonio, S., Mulatti, C., Esposito, G. (2019). To be or not to be emotionally aware and socially motivated: How alexithymia impacts autism spectrum disorders. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, n. e106.

Dellantonio, S. Pastore, L. (2019). How can you be sure? Epistemic feelings as a monitoring system for cognitive contents. In: Á. Nepomuceno-Fernández, L. Magnani, F. Salguero-Lamillar, C. Barés-Gómez, M. Fontaine (edited by), Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology. Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics, Spinger: Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 407-426.

Dellantonio, S. (2019). La filosofia della psicologia [Philosophy of Psychology], in: Barrotta, P., Montuschi, E. (a cura di). La Filosofia della scienza in Italia, Armando editore: Roma.

Poquérusse, J., Pastore, L., Dellantonio, S. & Esposito, G. (2018). Alexithymia and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Complex Relationship." in Frontiers in Psychology, 9, Article 1196, pp. 1-10.
Dellantonio, S., Pastore, L. (2017). Internal Perception. The Role of Bodily Information in Concepts and Word Mastery, Springer, ISBN 978-3-662-55761-7

Dellantonio, S., Pastore, L., Esposito, G. (2017). Above and Below the Surface: Genetic and Cultural Factors in the Development of Values. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. doi:10.1017/S0140525X16000741, e235, pp. 26-28.

Dellantonio, S., Job, R. (2017). La concretezza del corpo. Una revisione della concezione classica di astratto e concreto. Sistemi intelligenti, XXIX, n. 1, aprile 2017, pp. 9-32; DOI: 10.1422/86616.
Esposito, G., Dellantonio S., Mulatti C., Job R. (2016). Axiom, anguish and amazement: How Autistic Traits Modulate Emotional and Proprioceptive Mental Imagery. Frontiers in Psychology. Vol. 7:757. DOI=10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00757

Dellantonio, S., Job, R. (2015) La natura della spiegazione scientifica. Alcune riflessioni su neurocentrismo, meccanicismo, riduzionismo e determinismo. Giornale italiano di psicologia, XLII, n. 1-2, pp. 117-122. DOI: 10.1421/79834