Dottoressa di ricerca

ciclo: XXXV

co-supervisore: Prof. Salvatore Maria Aglioti

Titolo della tesi: Changing the body to change the mind: Evidence of the Proteus effect in immersive virtual environments

Technological advancement allows people to experience the illusion of embodying virtual agents (avatars), i.e., fully detailed virtual bodies which researchers create at their own convenience. In fact, through immersive virtual reality people can feel they own virtual bodies as if they were their own, a phenomenon commonly known as the body ownership illusion (or embodiment illusion). Just as in the real world, in the virtual environments people use their (virtual) bodies to interact with physical and social targets. Crucially, previous works observed that the avatar appearance affects people’s attitudes, perception, and behaviours, making them act accordingly to the virtual body physical features. The authors who first revealed the phenomenon referred it as the Proteus effect, alluding to the ability of the Greek God Proteus to change his shape at will. Several researchers then supported and expanded Proteus effect results in different domains, by making progress in creating increasingly detailed and distinctive avatars. Exemplary avatars are those that resemble Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, the embodiment of which seemed to lead to cognitive and mood enhancement, respectively. Differently from other studies, these two avatars represent role-models, characters with salient traits that seemed to be assimilated by participants during the virtual experience in their shoes. Despite the growing interest in the field, the Proteus effect needs further investigations to discover to what extent and for which domains it works. Moreover, embodying rolemodels and the transformative effects that follow stand out as one of the most recent and interesting related-challenges. Hence, this work aimed at taking steps in this direction. In this dissertation, we discuss the results of three studies and present materials and methods of two ongoing experiments. In four out of five studies presented, we explored behavioural, physiological, attitudinal effects of virtually being the Christian God, whose avatar was validated through two online pilot studies. We first examined if such an avatar might influence people’s sense of invulnerability (Study 1) and power (Study 2), and we found positive evidence at both physiological and behavioural level. Secondly, we investigated the embodiment effect on moral conflict resolution (Study 3), and we found no significant effect driven by the avatar embodied. We speculated that the lack of effects was due to the type of task and measures employed. We presented an ongoing study (Study 4) whereby we used an alternative version of the task. Finally, we presented an ongoing study (Study 5) whereby we aimed at exploring transformative effects of virtually being a successful female role-model, i.e., Angela Merkel, whose selection and avatar validation was made through two online pilot studies.

Produzione scientifica

11573/1696969 - 2023 - Embodiment vs. Priming: Does virtually being a successful female leader
Frisanco, Althea; Cantoni, Chiara; Provenzano, Luca; Aglioti, Salvatore Maria - 04f Poster
congresso: XXIX Congresso dell'Associazione Italiana di Psicologia - Sezione Sperimentale (Lucca)
libro: XXIX Congresso dell'Associazione Italiana di Psicologia - Sezione Sperimentale - ()

11573/1697016 - 2023 - Unveiling the Influence: Comparing the Effects of Female Role Model Embodiment vs. Picture Exposure on Attitudes
Frisanco, Althea; Cantoni, Chiara; Provenzano, Luca; Aglioti, Salvatore Maria - 04f Poster
congresso: XXI Congresso Nazionale Società Italiana Psicofisiologia e Neuroscienze Cognitive (SIPF). (Siena)

11573/1695448 - 2023 - Attitudes towards Italian Mafias Scale (AIMS): development and validation
Schepisi, M.; Liuzza, M. T.; Frisanco, A.; Giannini, A. M.; Aglioti, S. M. - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: PEERJ (Corte Madera, CA : PeerJ Inc.) pp. e16120- - issn: 2167-8359 - wos: WOS:001090571800004 (0) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85177585645 (0)

11573/1671770 - 2022 - Bringing social interaction at the core of organizational neuroscience
Boukarras, Sarah; Ferri, Donato; Frisanco, Althea; Farnese, Maria Luisa; Consiglio, Chiara; Alvino, Ilario; Bianchi, Francesco; D'acunto, Andrea; Borgogni, Laura; Aglioti, Salvatore Maria - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY (Lausanne: Frontiers Editorial) pp. 1-7 - issn: 1664-1078 - wos: WOS:000892825900001 (4) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85143371527 (4)

11573/1670728 - 2022 - Embodying the avatar of an omnipotent agent modulates the perception of one's own abilities and enhances feelings of invulnerability
Frisanco, Althea; Schepisi, Michael; Tieri, Gaetano; Aglioti, Salvatore Maria - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS (London: Springer Nature London: Nature Publishing Group) pp. - - issn: 2045-2322 - wos: WOS:000934150100029 (1) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85144297783 (6)

11573/1618993 - 2021 - All that meets the eye: The contribution of reward processing and pupil mimicry on pupillary reactions to facial trustworthiness
Frisanco, A.; Biella, M.; Brambilla, M.; Kret, M. E. - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: CURRENT PSYCHOLOGY (Transaction Publishers:Transaction Distribution Center, 390 Campus Drive:Somerset, NJ 08873:(888)999-6778, (732)445-1245, EMAIL:, INTERNET:, Fax: (732)748-9801) pp. - - issn: 1046-1310 - wos: WOS:000716242400006 (2) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85118688951 (2)

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