Davide Massaro

Davide Massaro
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | UNICATT · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

102
Publications
18,141
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1,163
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Publications

Publications (102)
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to face it have placed children and their caregivers in front of many challenges that could represent sources of stress. This work aims to explore the point of view of children through drawing, as a spontaneous means of expression, relating it to parents’ perceptions of children’s difficulties, strengths, and...
Article
Full-text available
Theory of Mind (ToM), a high-order human social cognition skill, is relevant for mental health and wellbeing and frequently impaired in many clinical conditions. To detect ToM difficulties, validated and standardized measures need to be adopted in clinical practice. The Yoni task provides a comprehensive evaluation of first-order, second-order, aff...
Preprint
The paper, based on an experiment in which human subjects are paired with either another human or an anthropomorphic robot, when playing an iterated prisoner’s dilemma, investigates whether (and how) the level of mental state attributed to an anthropomorphic robot by subjects depends on the the “earnestness” of the robot, i.e. the correspondence of...
Article
Mentalization is a useful ability for social functioning and a crucial aspect of mentalizing is emotion regulation. Literature suggests programmes for children and adults to increase mentalizing abilities useful both for emotional and social competences. For this reason, the issue of how to prompt children's mentalization has started to attract res...
Article
Full-text available
Individual economic competence is important but increasingly challenging to manage due to the growing complexity of the nature of economic decisions people must make and the substantial impacts of some of these decisions on their lives. Decision-making ability develops from childhood and is closely related to specific economic components and prosoc...
Article
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Although neural hubs of mentalizing are acknowledged, the brain mechanisms underlying mentalizing deficit, characterizing different neurological conditions, are still a matter of debate. To investigate the neural underpinning of Theory of Mind (ToM) deficit in Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a region of interest (ROI)-based resting-state fMRI study was pr...
Article
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Among the cognitive functions affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) disease, recent literature has focused on Theory of Mind (ToM), the ability of recognition and the attribution of mental states to predict future behaviors. To our knowledge, despite the ToM deficit is well recognized in MS, there is no training established for the treatment in this...
Article
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The borderline intellectual functioning (BIF) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by a borderline intelligence quotient (range 70–85) with difficulties in cognitive and social domains. Children with BIF often live in adverse conditions and show academic and behavioral difficulties. Rehabilitation programs for these children focus mainly...
Article
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The investigation of emerging adults' expectations of development of the next generation of robots is a fundamental challenge to narrow the gap between expectations and real technological advances, which can potentially impact the effectiveness of future interactions between humans and robots. Furthermore, the literature highlights the important ro...
Article
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In the past years, the field of collaborative robots has been developing fast, with applications ranging from health care to search and rescue, construction, entertainment, sports, and many others. However, current social robotics is still far from the general abilities we expect in a robot collaborator. This limitation is more evident when robots...
Article
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The present study evaluated: i) the effects of two training programs designed for promoting Theory of Mind (ToM) skills in children aged 7/8, and ii) the relations between second-order recursive thinking (II-order-RT), advanced-ToM (Adv_ToM) and metacognition. Ninety-one 7- to 8-year-old children were assigned to one of three training conditions: a...
Article
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The effectiveness of social robots has been widely recognized in different contexts of humans’ daily life, but still little is known about the brain areas activated by observing or interacting with a robot. Research combining neuroscience, cognitive science and robotics can provide new insights into both the functioning of our brain and the impleme...
Article
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The COVID-19 pandemic is showing troubling othering demographic discourses. For older adults in particular, there are concerning thematics that should be shined light on. In this editorial, we provide perspectives from three countries: Norway, Italy and the United States. We provide four topics of discussion that can be utilized to further understa...
Article
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The human physical resemblance of humanoid social robots (HRSs) has proven to be particularly effective in interactions with humans in different contexts. In particular, two main factors affect the quality of human-robot interaction, the physical appearance and the behaviors performed by the robot. In this study, we examined the psychological effec...
Article
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The relationship between humans and robots is increasingly becoming focus of interest for many fields of research. The studies investigating the dynamics underpinning the human–robot interaction have, up to date, mainly analysed adults’ behaviour when interacting with artificial agents. In this study, we present results associated with the human–ro...
Article
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Recent technological developments in robotics has driven the design and production of different humanoid robots. Several studies have highlighted that the presence of human- like physical features could lead both adults and children to anthropomorphize the robots. In the present study we aimed to compare the attribution of mental states to two huma...
Chapter
Full-text available
Robots are among us in several contexts. This chapter deals with the state of the art of the use of Socially Assistive Robots (SARs) for development and clinical purposes, considering all the main phases of the life cycle. The reflection on this type of “artificial assistants” is accompanied by some considerations on the use of the “Relational Agen...
Article
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Several studies have shown that the human gaze, but not the robot gaze, has significant effects on infant social cognition and facilitate social engagement. The present study investigates early understanding of the referential nature of gaze by comparing-through the eye-tracking technique-infants' response to human and robot's gaze. Data were acqui...
Article
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In the last ten years, the topic of Computational Thinking (CT) has been gaining increasing attention from researchers in the education field. Starting from kindergarten, increasingly programming activities such as coding and educational robotics are proposed to enhance CT and some cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, spatial and reasoning sk...
Article
The relationship between cognitive and affective Theory of Mind (ToM), clinical variables, and brain tissue injury is still a subject of debate in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). By adopting a ToM Networks model, we investigated ToM performance, and brain imaging correlates in relapsing-remitting (RR) and progressive (Pr) MS. 16RR, 19Pr, and 21 healthy co...
Article
Full-text available
Studying trust in the context of human–robot interaction is of great importance given the increasing relevance and presence of robotic agents in the social sphere, including educational and clinical. We investigated the acquisition, loss, and restoration of trust when preschool and school-age children played with either a human or a humanoid robot...
Conference Paper
Several empirical and theoretical studies have examined the role of robots in child-robot interaction, and they have shown that robotic agents can be perceived as social partners. Nonetheless, studies on moral development in pre-schoolers classically involve a human subject as a violator of moral norms. No studies have ever analysed the situation i...
Article
L’inclusione di agenti artificiali in ambienti in cui essi sono pro- grammati per diventare partner relazionali suggerisce un cambiamento nel nostro paradigma sociale incentrato sull’uomo (Belpaeme, Kennedy, Ramachandran, Scassellati e Tanaka, 2018). In quest’ottica, è essenziale studiare come si costruiscono le relazioni quando queste coinvolgono...
Article
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The principal aim of the study was to investigate the role of individual characteristics in decisional conflict of patients with prostate cancer (PCa) in order to identify risk and protective features. An observational study was conducted with 83 PCa patients accessing the multidisciplinary visit of Prostate Cancer Program at Fondazione IRCCS Istit...
Article
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Maintaining social skills such as Theory of Mind (ToM) competences is important to counteract the conversion into dementia in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Multidimensional nonpharmacological interventions demonstrated their potential in improving cognitive and behavioral abilities; however, little is known about the long-term effect of such int...
Article
In the last decade considerable attention has been devoted to the possible contribution of social media, and the Internet generally, to instigating adolescents' engagement in self-harm activities, which are considered the result of a combination of multidimensional variables, such as depression and anxiety. This study aimed to identify, using laten...
Article
Recent evidence showed that it is possible to help children's Theory of Mind (ToM) development during preschool and middle childhood. This study aimed to promote advanced mentalizing skills in children attending Year 2 of primary school through a ToM training programme based on narratives followed by multiple‐choice questions and conversations abou...
Preprint
Full-text available
Studying trust within human-robot interaction is of great importance given the social relevance of robotic agents in a variety of contexts. We investigated the acquisition, loss and restoration of trust when preschool and school-age children played with either a human or a humanoid robot in-vivo. The relationship between trust and the quality of at...
Article
The manipulation of the proposer's description in the ultimatum game (UG) using mentalistic labels might influence the final decision along with the sensitivity toward fairness. The present study aimed to investigate neural changes related to the mentalistic description of the proposer in the UG task. For this purpose, 21 healthy adults played the...
Article
Preferring life to death is deeply rooted in our biology. With the present study, we explored two questions: (1) Can this inclination be transposed to aesthetics, so that a living being is valued as more beautiful than a non‐living being? and (2) Are there any differences in the visual exploration of portrayals of a living compared to a dead human?...
Article
The present work investigates the link between attachment relationships, mentalization, and emotional regulation in 10-year-olds children. The aim is to verify if children-teacher attachment relationship could influence children's mentalization style and cognitive/emotional regulation strategies. For this purpose, 110 children were tested with the...
Article
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The role of social cognition, including theory of mind (ToM), in affecting quality of life (QoL) along the course of diseases has been reported. This is a considerable aspect in chronic pathologies, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), in which supporting and maintaining QoL is of crucial importance. We aimed to investigate the relation between ToM, cl...
Article
The aim of the study was to explore cognitive and affective dimensions of ToM using the computerized Yoni task in participants with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI=16), early stage of Parkinson’s Disease (PD=14), and healthy controls (HC=18) Results demonstrated that the Yoni task was effective in discriminating between groups in 1th order...
Article
Full-text available
The study of social cognition involves the attribution of states of mind to humans, as well as, quite recently, to nonhuman creatures, like God. Some studies support the role of social cognition in religious beliefs, whereas others ascribe religious beliefs to an ontological knowledge bias. The present study compares these distinct approaches in 37...
Article
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Theory of Mind (ToM) is the lifespan developing ability to attribute mental states. This ability enables the individual to predict and interpret one’s own and others’ behavior. In this respect, beliefs about one’s own capacity to attribute mental states represent a fundamental component of this construct. The present study aims to compare the unidi...
Article
Abstract. This review focuses on some relevant issues concerning the relationship between theory of mind (ToM) and humanoid robots. Humanoid robots are employed in different everyday-life contexts, so it seems relevant to question whether the relationships between human beings and humanoids can be characterized by a mode of interaction typical of t...
Article
This paper proposes a novel approach to interpret the results of a classical second-order false belief task (the ice cream man task) administered to children in order to investigate their Theory of Mind. We adopted a dialogical perspective to study the adult-child discussion in this research setting. In particular, we see the adult-child conversati...
Article
During adolescence and early adulthood, individuals deal with important developmental changes, especially in the context of complex social interactions. Previous studies demonstrated that those changes have a significant impact on the social decision making process, in terms of a progressive increase of intentionality comprehension of others, of th...
Article
Sensitivity to canons of beauty as represented in the human body—and as typically defined in the Western Culture—has been poorly studied in children. Current literature shows that infants as young as about three months are sensitive to the human body structure and its parts. Using a sample of 54 three- to five-year-old children, the present study i...
Article
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In this study, we seek to widen our understanding of the developmental processes underlying bargaining behaviour in children addressing the concept of prospective thinking. We argue that the emergence of the capacity to think prospectively about future outcomes or behaviours in response to current actions is a required precedent to strategic decisi...
Article
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Background Decision making is a complex psychological process driven by emotions. Among the most unpleasant ones are the situations when the obtained outcome is not the one expected. This emotional experience is influenced by sense of agency, i.e. the feeling that we voluntarily control our actions and, through them, events in the world. Negative c...
Article
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Over the last decade, Financial Literacy (FL) and interventions aimed at improving it, that is Financial Education (FE), have been the focus of increased attention from economists, governments, and international organizations such as the world Bank and OECD, but much less by scholars in the fields of Learning and Instruction. We examined open-ended...
Article
This paper describes the decision-making process from psychological perspective and the importance of the analyses of its developmental trajectories. It focuses on three main points: first, shifting from adult-centered to child-centered view; second, seeing decision making in an interpersonal and social perspective; third, similarities and differen...
Article
Full-text available
Borderline intellectual functioning (BIF) is characterized by heterogeneous cognitive difficulties, with an intelligence quotient (IQ) between 70 and 85 points, and a failure to meet the developmental and sociocultural standards for personal independence and social responsibility required in daily life. The fact that this population still remain a...
Article
Full-text available
Mentalization research focuses on different aspects of this topic, highlighting individual differences in mentalizing and proposing programs of intervention for children and adults to increase this ability. The “Thought in Mind Project” (TiM Project) provides training targeted to adults—teachers or parents—to increase their mentalization and, conse...
Chapter
Financial education for children involves the transmission of—and contributes to modify—knowledge and behaviours in and in relation to the economic domain, in different ways at different ages. From a psychological perspective, to make financial education for young people effective it is necessary to consider two related matters: the nature of the d...
Article
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A topic of common interest to psychologists and philosophers is the spontaneous flow of thoughts when the individual is awake but not involved in cognitive demands. This argument, classically referred to as the "stream of consciousness" of James, is now known in the psychological literature as "Mind-Wandering." Although of great interest, this cons...
Article
Movement perception and its role in aesthetic experience have been often studied, within empirical aesthetics, in relation to the human body. No such specificity has been defined in neuroimaging studies with respect to contents lacking a human form. The aim of this work was to explore, through functional magnetic imaging (fMRI), how perceived movem...
Article
Full-text available
Movement perception and its role in aesthetic experience have been often studied, within empirical aesthetics, in relation to the human body. No such specificity has been defined in neuroimaging studies with respect to contents lacking a human form. The aim of this work was to explore, through functional magnetic imaging (f MRI), how perceived move...
Article
Full-text available
The Mind-Reading ability through the eyes is an important component of the affective Theory of Mind (ToM), which allows people to infer the other’s mental state from the eye gaze. The aim of the present study was to investigate to which extent age-associated structural brain changes impact this ability and to determine if this association is relate...
Poster
Full-text available
Il presente lavoro si occupa del tema dell’educazione economico-finanziaria in ottica psicologica, con particolare attenzione alle abilità e alle conoscenze che i soggetti devono possedere per comprendere i concetti economico-finanziari e acquisire nuove competenze in merito. L’educazione economico-finanziaria in età evolutiva consiste infatti sia...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
L’emozione della tristezza risulta più frequentemente associata a un funzionamento cognitivo sistematico e deliberativo, al contrario dell’emozione della felicità che si associa maggiormente a un funzionamento cognitivo euristico (Bless, Igou, 2005). La ricerca sulla Teoria della Mente (ToM) ha evidenziato come le emozioni giochino un ruolo signifi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Un argomento di interesse comune a psicologi e filosofi è il fluire spontaneo dei pensieri quando l’individuo è sveglio ma non coinvolto in compiti cognitivi. Questo argomento, classicamente riferito allo “stream of consciousness” di James, è oggi noto in letteratura come “Mind-Wandering “(MW). Sebbene di rilevante interesse, tale costrutto è rimas...
Article
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This study explores the development of theory of mind, operationalized as recursive thinking ability, from adolescence to early adulthood ( N = 110; young adolescents = 47; adolescents = 43; young adults = 20). The construct of theory of mind has been operationalized in two different ways: as the ability to recognize the correct mental state of a c...