Prof. Mariano Alcaniz & Dr. Irene Alice Chicchi Giglioli, Institute for Research and Innovation in Bioengineering (i3B) – Valencia, Spain


Mariano Alcaniz

‘New models of human interaction in mixed reality environments’

In the last two years, technological tools known as Mixed Reality Interfaces (MRI) have appeared on the market, which not only allow user interaction with a virtual environment, but also allow the physical objects of the user’s immediate real environment to serve as elements of interaction with the virtual environment. That is, MRIs are perfect tools to introduce into our reality new virtual elements (objects and virtual humans) that will generate a new reality in our brain. Today, MRIs are the most technologically advanced tools that human beings have used to date to improve their reality and generate artificial realities that improve the reality they live. In the last year, there is an unusual interest in MRI in the ICT industry. That means that MRI will be a revolution in human communication mediated by new technologies, as in the moment was the irruption of the mobile phone. Therefore, the central question that motivates the present talk is: what capacity will MRIs have to alter the reality that we are going to live in a few years and hence alter the social communication between humans?

To date, only a very basic aspect of MRIs is being investigated, its ability to simulate our current reality. However, the above question calls for a paradigm shift in current MRI research. It is necessary to advance towards this new paradigm by proposing a basic research scheme that will allow to analyze the influence of individual personnel variables and MRI interaction aspects will have on basic aspects of human behavior, like decision making. In this talk, we present several examples of how MRI can be used for human behavior tracking and modification, we describe different research projects results and we conclude with a discussion of potential future implications.



Irene Alice Chicchi Giglioli

‘Towards a new model for generalized virtual reality exposure therapies: the ATHENEA project’

The importance of mental disorders (MD) in terms of both morbidity and impact on the quality of life of patients is very high since they are the most frequent cause of burden of the disease in Europe, ahead of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Likewise, the loss of quality of life is higher than that produced by chronic diseases such as heart and respiratory diseases. With regard to the economic impact, psychiatric morbidity is very high, with conservative estimates of 3-4% of the European Union’s GNP, exceeding € 182,000 / year. 46% of this expense corresponds to direct health and social costs, and the rest to indirect expenses due to the loss of productivity, mainly associated with work incapacity. In general, it is considered that MD are the group of diseases that represent the highest direct and total cost for the health system of Western countries. Despite the importance of mental health, traditionally, the application of ICTs to mental health has been an area of research in Biomedical Engineering (IB) rarely addressed. Currently, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most empirically studied and effective treatments for TM treatment along with virtual reality exposure (VRET). The use of the Internet for CBT-VRET, called ComputerizedCBT-VRET has proven to be an effective and low-cost intervention to extend evidence-based treatments. The main obstacle to achieving widespread use of CCBT-VRET systems is that they are designed for a single type of MD. For this reason they present serious limitations both for the detection of new problems that may appear during treatment and for adapting to the treatment of other disorders. The novel paradigm of neuropsychotherapy (NPST) establishes the basis for defining generalist psychotherapy protocols that can address most MD. Specifically, Grawe’s theory of consistency establishes a theoretical model that has proved effective for this purpose. The ATHENEA project proposes the development of a CCBT-VRET system based on the Grawe model to offer therapy for the majority of MD. In this presentation, we describe the ATHENEA project in detail, the theoretical constructs related to the Grawe’s model, the methodology that we are using to develop the virtual reality system and we conclude showing ATHENEA in execution.



Lunedì 7 maggio 2018, ore 14.30

UNIMIB – Sala Lauree del Dipartimento di Psicologia, U6 (3° piano)

Tutti gli interessati sono invitati a partecipare.

Per informazioni:

Prof. Gianmarco Marzocchi