The Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences is home to a group of researchers who are active in a large range of disciplines, adopting a multitude of scientific methods. These disciplines include experimental and applied psychology, neuroscience, pedagogy, philosophy, sociology and cultural studies, all of which pertain to the cognitive sciences.
The VQR (Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca) has attested to the quality of our department’s research, ranking the department second nationally for its research in Psychology since 2003.
The Department conducts research, provides training and transfers knowledge in the following research areas:
THE SOCIAL MIND
This line of research aims to enhance the study of cognitive processes in all its forms, including topics such as language, communication, the understanding of one’s own and others’ mental states in their typical and atypical development, and interactions between people and groups. These issues are addressed from the point of view of developmental, general and social psychology, through the use of experimental psychology methods and techniques. They are also the object of critical-comparative research, which aims to investigate these issues through their theoretical and epistemological assumptions. The term "social mind" indicates a common perspective shared by cognitive, psychological, social, cultural and human scientific approaches; that is, the idea that cognitive processes are always intrinsically relational.
COGNITIVE AND CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE
This line of research investigates the neurophysiological basis of cognitive, affective and behavioural alterations induced by the mental and neurological pathologies of adults and children. Diagnostic (including testing) and therapeutic methods are developed for the evaluation and treatment of cognitive, affective and relational deficits. Both the developed theoretical insights and research findings have immediate applicative value through rehabilitative and diagnostic interventions in cognitive and behavioural deficits.
ORGANIZATION, EDUCATION AND CULTURAL STUDIES
This line of research studies the processes of mutual influence among individuals, groups, organizations and cultures, as well as the way they define behaviours in complex social environments such as work organizations. It deals with the motivation and learning of people as members of specific cultural and social contexts. It promotes research to analyze models and teaching tools that develop quality teaching, and that enhance the inclusion and respect for differences in academics, in adult and open education, and in heterogeneous educational contexts. Within this line of research, tools for assessing the health and well-being of individuals in clinical, work and social settings are produced. It promotes intercultural dialogue, and the definition of subjectivity and relationships, through studying the role of cultural processes, socio-narrative practices, and the exploration of potentially conflictual or traumatic contexts and events.
The multidisciplinary research in this area has an immediate impact on interventions and training activities within Trentino, including the following: qualified human resources management; the attainment of goals formulated by various local, public and private, organizations; the application of teaching methods and professional educational interventions; the improvement of prevention strategies; health and organizational well-being; the creation of inclusive educational environments.
QUANTITATIVE METHODOLOGIES AND COGNITIVE TECHNOLOGIES
This recently developed area within the Department aims to enhance: a) quantitative psychology and its capacity to formulate innovative research with an interdisciplinary impact, while studying the methodological practices typical of the psychological and social sciences; b) research on the impact of current technological developments on human beings and society. This new area of research within our Department has taken advantage of a collaboration with the Bruno Kessler Foundation. With the international research center lying in the province of Trento, the Department has engaged in educational and research collaborations, leading to investment in communication technologies, human-machine interaction, and interfaces.
These investigative fields can be fully explored thanks to the Department’s numerous experimental laboratories, equipped with tools and software for collecting behavioural and physiological data (including psychophysics, kinematics, EEG, eye-tracking, and multisensory laboratory equipment). Moreover, our researchers actively and effectively cooperate with local healthcare services and providers, in order to carry out studies on patients suffering from neurological and psychiatric illnesses, as well as studies on functional and structural neuroimaging.