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Special Issue "New Trends in Psychophysiology and Mental Health"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomedical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pietro Cipresso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1 Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
2 Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy
Tel. 3667175081
Interests: psychometrics; biostatistics; complex systems and computational modeling; psychophysiology methods; biosensors and biomedical signal processing; virtual reality methods and computational science
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Justin T. Baker
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry and Harvard Medical School, MA, USA
Interests: Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Technology in Psychiatry, Translational Research
Dr. Yuri Ostrovsky
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, USA
Interests: Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuroimaging, Neuroscience, MATLAB
Dr. Silvia Serino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Catholic University of Milan, Italy
Interests: Virtual Reality, Positive Technology, Neurorehabilitation, Spatial Memory
Dr. Daniela Villani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Gemelli 1, 20123 Milan, Italy
Interests: communication psychology; psychology of emotions; decision making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Advances in pervasive sensing and computing are transforming the landscape of opportunities for mental health researchers and practitioners to provide scaleable, reliable assessment, monitoring, and treatment to individuals across a diverse spectrum of neuropsychiatric conditions and severity levels, from severe mental illness to optimizing wellness and productivity. To explore these issues in a cross-displinary forum of technologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, the International Conference on Pervasive Computing Paradigms for Mental Health (http://mindcareconference.org) was held at MIT’s Sanberg Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in January 2018 and in Buenos Aires in 2019.

The symposium explored how embedded sensors distributed through smart phones, wearables, cameras, and personal computing devices, which increasingly include immersive computing environments (e.g., AR, VR), cars, and homes (e.g. Alexa), are enabling naturalistic mental health support, treatment, as well as extension of the theoretical knowledge through objective, continous data collection of human behavior in naturalistic settings, such as in the home or while receiving treatment.  

In this regard, we are soliciting high-quality papers in the following topics (but not limited to):
 
Sensing and data processing
  • Wearable computing
  • Smart environments
  • Biomedical devices
  • Speech Analysis
  • Big data for individual / public health
  • Computational Psychometrics
  • Combined sensing systems and infrastructures
  • Computer-enhanced self reporting
  • Machine learning and data mining methods

User experience
  • Novel interfaces
  • Usability studies
  • Visualizations
  • Augmented reality
  • Virtual reality approaches

Applications
  • Mental wellbeing support
  • Stress / Emotional response analysis
  • Affective computing
  • Serious games for mental health
  • Cognitive stimulation
  • Life-logging methods
  • Monitoring activities relevant to mental health
  • Psychological treatments of mental disorders
  • Systems to support patients and / or caregivers
  • Using technology to improve the understanding of cognitive processes
  • Tools for Neuropsychological Assessment and Rehabilitation
  • Mental health promotion and disorders prevention

Dr. Pietro Cipresso
Dr. Justin T. Baker
Dr. Yuri Ostrovsky
Dr. Silvia Serino
Dr. Daniela Villani
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Validation of Wireless Sensors for Psychophysiological Studies
Sensors 2019, 19(22), 4824; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19224824 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
James One (MindProber Labs) is a wireless psychophysiological device comprising two sensors: one measuring electrodermal activity (EDA), the other photoplethysmography (PPG). This paper reports the validation of James One’s EDA sensor by comparing its signal against a research grade polygraph. Twenty participants were [...] Read more.
James One (MindProber Labs) is a wireless psychophysiological device comprising two sensors: one measuring electrodermal activity (EDA), the other photoplethysmography (PPG). This paper reports the validation of James One’s EDA sensor by comparing its signal against a research grade polygraph. Twenty participants were instructed to perform breathing exercises to elicit the modulation of EDA and heart rate, while the physiological signal was captured simultaneously on James One and a Biopac MP36. The resulting EDA and PPG records collected from both systems were comprehensively compared. Results suggest that James One captures EDA signal with a quality comparable to a research grade equipment, this constituting a reliable means of capturing data while minimizing setup time and intrusiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Psychophysiology and Mental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Computational Psychometrics Using Psychophysiological Measures for the Assessment of Acute Mental Stress
Sensors 2019, 19(4), 781; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19040781 - 14 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The goal of this study was to provide reliable quantitative analyses of psycho-physiological measures during acute mental stress. Acute, time-limited stressors are used extensively as experimental stimuli in psychophysiological research. In particular, the Stroop Color Word Task and the Arithmetical Task have been [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to provide reliable quantitative analyses of psycho-physiological measures during acute mental stress. Acute, time-limited stressors are used extensively as experimental stimuli in psychophysiological research. In particular, the Stroop Color Word Task and the Arithmetical Task have been widely used in several settings as effective mental stressors. We collected psychophysiological data on blood volume pulse, thoracic respiration, and skin conductance from 60 participants at rest and during stressful situations. Subsequently, we used statistical univariate tests and multivariate computational approaches to conduct comprehensive studies on the discriminative properties of each condition in relation to psychophysiological correlates. The results showed evidence of a greater discrimination capability of the Arithmetical Task compared to the Stroop test. The best predictors were the short time Heart Rate Variability (HRV) indices, in particular, the Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia index, which in turn could be predicted by other HRV and respiratory indices in a hierarchical, multi-level regression analysis. Thus, computational psychometrics analyses proved to be an effective tool for studying such complex variables. They could represent the first step in developing complex platforms for the automatic detection of mental stress, which could improve the treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Psychophysiology and Mental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Portable System for Real-Time Detection of Stress Level
Sensors 2018, 18(8), 2504; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18082504 - 01 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Currently, mental stress is a major problem in our society. It is related to a wide variety of diseases and is mainly caused by daily-life factors. The use of mobile technology for healthcare purposes has dramatically increased during the last few years. In [...] Read more.
Currently, mental stress is a major problem in our society. It is related to a wide variety of diseases and is mainly caused by daily-life factors. The use of mobile technology for healthcare purposes has dramatically increased during the last few years. In particular, for out-of-lab stress detection, a considerable number of biosignal-based methods and systems have been proposed. However, these approaches have not matured yet into applications that are reliable and useful enough to significantly improve people’s quality of life. Further research is needed. In this paper, we propose a portable system for real-time detection of stress based on multiple biosignals such as electroencephalography, electrocardiography, electromyography, and galvanic skin response. In order to validate our system, we conducted a study using a previously published and well-established methodology. In our study, ten subjects were stressed and then relaxed while their biosignals were simultaneously recorded with the portable system. The results show that our system can classify three levels of stress (stress, relax, and neutral) with a resolution of a few seconds and 86% accuracy. This suggests that the proposed system could have a relevant impact on people’s lives. It can be used to prevent stress episodes in many situations of everyday life such as work, school, and home. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Psychophysiology and Mental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Toward an Embodied Medicine: A Portable Device with Programmable Interoceptive Stimulation for Heart Rate Variability Enhancement
Sensors 2018, 18(8), 2469; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18082469 - 30 Jul 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
In this paper, we describe and test a new portable device that is able to deliver tactile interoceptive stimulation. The device works by delivering precise interoceptive parasympathetic stimuli to C-tactile afferents connected to the lamina I spinothalamocortical system. In humans, interoceptive stimulation can [...] Read more.
In this paper, we describe and test a new portable device that is able to deliver tactile interoceptive stimulation. The device works by delivering precise interoceptive parasympathetic stimuli to C-tactile afferents connected to the lamina I spinothalamocortical system. In humans, interoceptive stimulation can be used to enhance heart rate variability (HRV). To test the effectiveness of the device in enhancing HRV, 13 subjects were randomly assigned in a single-blind between-subjects design either to the experimental condition or to the control condition. In the experimental condition, subjects received stimulation with the developed device; in the control condition subjects received stimulation with static non-interoceptive pressure. Subjects’ electrocardiograms (ECG) were recorded, with sampling at 1000 Hz for 5 min as a baseline, and then during the stimulations (11 min). Time domain analyses were performed to estimate the short-term vagally mediated component (rMSSD) of HRV. Results indicated that the experimental group showed enhanced rMSSD, compared to the control group. Moreover, frequency domain analyses indicated that high frequency band power, which reflects parasympathetic activity in humans, also appeared to be enhanced in the experimental group compared to control subjects. Conclusions and future challenges for an embodied perspective of rehabilitative medicine are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Psychophysiology and Mental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics, Usability, and Users Experience of a System Combining Cognitive and Physical Therapy in a Virtual Environment: Positive Bike
Sensors 2018, 18(7), 2343; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18072343 - 19 Jul 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
We present the architecture and usability evaluation of virtual reality system—“Positive Bike”—designed for improving cognitive and motor conditions in frail elderly patients. The system consists of a cycle-ergometer integrated in an immersive virtual reality system (CAVE) which allows combining motor and cognitive exercises [...] Read more.
We present the architecture and usability evaluation of virtual reality system—“Positive Bike”—designed for improving cognitive and motor conditions in frail elderly patients. The system consists of a cycle-ergometer integrated in an immersive virtual reality system (CAVE) which allows combining motor and cognitive exercises according to a “dual-task” paradigm. We tested the usability and user’s experience of the prototype in a pilot evaluation study that involved five elderly patients. The prototype was tested in one-session training to understand the limitations and areas for improvement of our system. The evaluation consisted in (i) usability assessment using the system usability scale; (ii) evaluation of user’s engagement using the flow state scale; and (iii) expert evaluation involving interviews with domain experts. Results showed a good usability, both for system usability scale and the semi-structured interview. The level of flow (i.e., enjoyment with the task at hand) measured using the short flow state scale, was also high. Analysis of semi-structured interview carried out with domain experts provided further indications to improve the system. Overall, these findings show that, despite some limitations, the system is usable and provides an enjoyable user’s experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Psychophysiology and Mental Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Disentangling the Contribution of Spatial Reference Frames to Executive Functioning in Healthy and Pathological Aging: An Experimental Study with Virtual Reality
Sensors 2018, 18(6), 1783; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18061783 - 01 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
A growing body of evidence pointed out that a decline in effectively using spatial reference frames for categorizing information occurs both in normal and pathological aging. Moreover, it is also known that executive deficits primarily characterize the cognitive profile of older individuals. Acknowledging [...] Read more.
A growing body of evidence pointed out that a decline in effectively using spatial reference frames for categorizing information occurs both in normal and pathological aging. Moreover, it is also known that executive deficits primarily characterize the cognitive profile of older individuals. Acknowledging this literature, the current study was aimed to specifically disentangle the contribution of the cognitive abilities related to the use of spatial reference frames to executive functioning in both healthy and pathological aging. 48 healthy elderly individuals and 52 elderly suffering from probable Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) took part in the study. We exploited the potentiality of Virtual Reality to specifically measure the abilities in retrieving and syncing between different spatial reference frames, and then we administrated different neuropsychological tests for evaluating executive functions. Our results indicated that allocentric functions contributed significantly to the planning abilities, while syncing abilities influenced the attentional ones. The findings were discussed in terms of previous literature exploring relationships between cognitive deficits in the first phase of AD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Psychophysiology and Mental Health)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Review of Emotion Recognition Using Physiological Signals
Sensors 2018, 18(7), 2074; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18072074 - 28 Jun 2018
Cited by 23
Abstract
Emotion recognition based on physiological signals has been a hot topic and applied in many areas such as safe driving, health care and social security. In this paper, we present a comprehensive review on physiological signal-based emotion recognition, including emotion models, emotion elicitation [...] Read more.
Emotion recognition based on physiological signals has been a hot topic and applied in many areas such as safe driving, health care and social security. In this paper, we present a comprehensive review on physiological signal-based emotion recognition, including emotion models, emotion elicitation methods, the published emotional physiological datasets, features, classifiers, and the whole framework for emotion recognition based on the physiological signals. A summary and comparation among the recent studies has been conducted, which reveals the current existing problems and the future work has been discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Psychophysiology and Mental Health)
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