Experimental Psychology Laboratory


The Experimental Psychology Laboratory was founded in 2004 within the Department of Communication Sciences aimed to support applicative aspects of research in the different areas of cognitive psychology and perception and to strengthen the interaction between research and teaching, offering students the opportunity to carry out internal exercises and internships.


Since 2012, the year of the establishment of the Department of Social, Political and Cognitive Sciences, it is a structural element of this Department, continuing to support research from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The Laboratory of Psychological Experimentation works in close and continuous synergy with the Laboratory for Designing Work Environment, with particular reference to studies on stress perceived and ethic, and on empathy, emotions and prosocial behavior.


Research activities are mainly focused on the role that affective and cognitive factors have on different behavior of the daily life. The laboratory’s activities focus mainly on:

  • Risk Perception.
  • Visual perception.
  • Studies of the relationship between individual factors (gender and personality) and the generation of stereotypes and prejudices.
  • Studies of the relationship between cognitive, socio-affective and contextual factors in prosocial and antisocial behavior on the net.
  • Use of digital technologies in autistic individuals.
  • Studies on the relationship between stress, moral disengagement and ethical behavior


- Risk perception

  • Risk perception and driving behaviour among adolescent: study on the evolutionary cognitive and emotional aspects.
  • Risk perception and construction workers education


- Visual Perception

  • The selectivity for contrast polarity in contour integration
  • Perception of animacy and mental states starting from visual clues
  • Aesthetics of the composition and visual perception


- Individual factors (gender and personality) and the generation of stereotypes and prejudices

  • Perception of faces and processing of victim / aggressor gender stereotypes: the influence of the use of the Internet and the observer's personality


- Studies on the relationship between cognitive, socio-affective and contextual factors in prosocial and antisocial behavior on the net

  • Emotional Education and cyberbullying prevention
  • Moral disengagement and emotion in cyberbullying and cyber-victimization
  • Intermediate communities and aggressive behaviors on the net. A study on cyberbullying in the districts of Siena
  • Moral disengagement, empathy and use of social media


- Use of digital technologies in subjects with autism spectrum disorder

  • Analysis on the support of digital technologies in subjects with high functioning autism spectrum disorders.


- Studies on the relationship between stress, moral disengagement and ethical behavior

  • Evaluation of the relationship between stress and ethics in the academic field.


The research is carried out through a range of methods including questionnaires (paper and online), ethnographic observation, interviews, focus groups, the use of databases such as "The Chicago Face Database", the “International Affective Picture System” (IAPS), and statistical analysis of the data collected through the use of R and other statistical packages.


Support activities for teaching and orientation The Laboratory also carries out teaching support activities by offering the student the opportunity to carry out experimental research activities, in the context of practical exercises, development of papers, thesis work and collaboration in research projects. The Laboratory collaborates with high schools for School-Work Alternation projects.


Personnel involved in laboratory activities

  • Paola Palmitesta (Scientific Director)
  • Margherita Bracci (Technical person in charge)
  • Stefano Guidi
  • Enrica Marchigiani
  • Oronzo Parlangeli
  • Massimiliano Tiberio
Project “S.P.Acca – Stress and the Perception of Unethical Behaviours in the Academic Setting”

Stress at work not only influences the state of our health, but can also have repercussions on our “ethical reasoning”, favouring the enactment of behaviours that contradict our values. Contextual circumstances that can produce stress (such as job uncertainty, frequent socio-organisational changes, isolation at work, insufficient possibilities to manage operative procedures) may lead to a deterioration of cognitive and emotional resources and contribute to facilitating the causes that lead to the enactment of incorrect behaviours.


In the academic context, morality holds a particular importance and prominence for the pursuit of scientific research that is ethically sustainable. It is therefore important to verify the existence of a correlation between stress levels experienced by teaching staff, perceptions relative to the occurrence of unethical behaviour and the attributions of judgment regarding the seriousness of these behaviours.

  • Parlangeli, O., Marchigiani, E., Bracci, M., Boldrini, M., Pomponio, I., and Palmitesta, P. (2021). Being Part of an “Intermediate Community” and Aggressive Behavior on the Net: A Study on Cyberbullying Inside the Contrade of Siena in Italy. 10.1007/978-3-030-77626-8_8.
  • Parlangeli, O., Palmitesta, P., Guidi, S., Di Pomponio, I., Bracci, M., and Marchigiani, E. (2021). Social Distancing, Stress and Unethical Behavior: A Study on Italian University Students in the First Period of Isolation Due to COVID-19. In Advances in Physical, Social & Occupational Ergonomics. AHFE 2021. (pp.11-18). Cham : Springer [10.1007/978-3-030-80713-9_2].
  • Bracci, M., Guidi, S., Marchigiani, E., Masini, M., Palmitesta, P., and Parlangeli, O. (2021). Perception of Faces and Elaboration of Gender and Victim/Aggressor Stereotypes: The Influence of Internet Use and of the Perceiver's Personality. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 561480. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.561480
  • Parlangeli, O., Marchigiani, E., Guidi, S., Bracci, M., Andreadis, A., & Zambon, R. (2020) I Do It Because I Feel that… Moral Disengagement and Emotions in Cyberbullying and Cybervictimisation. In HCII 2020, LNCS (pp.289-304). Springer Nature Switzerland
  • Parlangeli, O., Marchigiani, E., Bracci, Duguid A.M., Palmitesta, P., Marti, P. (2019) Offensive acts and helping behavior on the internet: An analysis of the relationships between moral disengagement, empathy and use of social media in a sample of Italian students. Work, 63(3), 469-477.
  • Bracci M., Duguid A.M., Marchigiani E., Palmitesta P., Parlangeli O. (2019) Digital Discrimination: An Ergonomic Approach to Emotional Education for the Prevention of Cyberbullying. In: Bagnara S., Tartaglia R., Albolino S., Alexander T., Fujita Y. (eds) Proceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018). IEA 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 826. Springer, Cham.
  • Parlangeli, O., Guidi, S., Marchigiani, E., Bracci, M., & Liston, P.M. (2019) Perceptions of Work-Related Stress and Ethical Misconduct Amongst Non-tenured Researchers in Italy. Science and Engineering Ethics, 1-23
  • Parlangeli O., Guidi S., Bracci M., Marchigiani E., Liston P.M. (2019) Biomedical Research, Stress and Unethical Behavior: Study of a Sample of Untenured Italian Researchers. In: Cotrim T., Serranheira F., Sousa P., Hignett S., Albolino S., Tartaglia R. (eds) Health and Social Care Systems of the Future: Demographic Changes, Digital Age and Human Factors. HEPS 2019. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 1012. Springer, Cham, pp. 222-229.
  • Parlangeli O, Bracci M, Guidi S, Marchigiani E. (2018) Risk Perception and Emotions Regulation Strategies in Driving Behaviour: An Analysis of the Self-reported Data of Adolescents and Young Adults. Int. J. Human Factors and Ergonomics. Vol. 5, No. 2, pp.166–187.
  • Parlangeli, O., Bracci, M., Duguid, A.M., Marchigiani, E., & Palmitesta, P. (2018) Cyberbullying and prosocial behavior on the net: the influence of some socio-cognitive and contextual factors in a sample of Italian high school students. In ICERI 2018 - Proceedings (pp.8982-8987).
  • M.Bracci, E.Marchigiani (2012) Alla guida delle emozioni. In Rivista Italiana di Ergonomia, 6, pp.34-42.
  • Parlangeli , O., Palmieri, S., Bracci, M., Guidi, S., Tartaglia, R. (2006) Training for safety:virtual reality and hypermedia for construction workers education. International Ergonomics Association Conference. Maastricht, july 11th-14th, proceedings on CD.
  • Parlangeli, O., Bracci, M., Guidi, S, & Palmieri, S., (2005) La percezione del rischio nel giovane lavoratore edile: la realizzazione di un sistema formativo basato su tecniche di rappresentazione tridimensionali, In “La percezione del rischio” R. Rumiati e L. Lotto (a cura di). Padova: CLEUP.