The areas of investigation of the Virtual Reality Laboratory are multiple and aimed at analyzing the following aspects:
-        the characteristics of spatial memory acquired after acquiring environment by exploring it from the computer desktop or in an immersive virtual reality situation or by actually moving in the environment;
-        personality traits or specific psychological disorder can be associated with different spatial strategies to successfully move through the environment;
-        which spatial reference structures are used when indicating an object in relation to us (i.e. person-object localization) or when indicating an object in relation to another object (i.e. object-object localization). In particular, we are interested in detecting whether people use the same spatial reference systems in the two different types of localization or whether they use different reference systems;
-        the environmental characteristics that favour the perception of an emotionally pleasant environment in which to move, referring both to the general structure of the environment (e.g. city vs. natural environment) and to specific environmental characteristics such as landmarks
-        whether the features people use to navigate the Web are related to real-world 'navigation' strategies
-        which environmental characteristics favour the long-term recall of an environment (environmental episodic memory)


A specific field of cognitive psychology is spatial memory, that is the ways in which an individual acquires and represents the relationships between himself/herself and his/her external environment. One area of research in this field concerns the analysis of environmental and individual characteristics and the influence they have in determining the mental representation of the surrounding space.
This area of research has now received new impetus thanks to the introduction of techniques such as virtual reality, which makes it possible by controlling the physical characteristics of the environment and so studying, in a more systematic way, how people move within it.
The laboratory's research activity fits into this context, since immersive virtual environments are used to study the sense of orientation and the characteristics of spatial memory.

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