Theory of Pain Laboratory (TOPLab)

The Theory of Pain Laboratory (TOPLab) managed by Professor Corrado Corradi Dell’Acqua examines the role played by different cognitive processes in pain diagnostics. 

The ability of appropriately diagnosing others’ pain, in fact, is critical in social communities, and it is a cornerstone for an efficient health care system. Differently from most medical conditions, which are diagnosed on the basis of reliable biomarkers or radiological imaging, pain is an experience that it is difficult to quantify objectively. Consequently, it is often underestimated and undertreated, even in specialized emergency departments.

The main goal of this research group is to investigate, under a multidisciplinary approach, the cognitive and neural processes underlying the diagnosis of people’s pain. This line of research is at the crossroads of several subdisciplines in experimental psychology and neuroscience (affective processing, embodied cognition, decision making, theory of mind, etc.) and will combine different analytical techniques (behavioral, neuroimaging, machine-learning-algorithms, etc.).

Our long-term ambition is to apply our findings to develop of new educational protocols, grounded on solid psychological and neuroscience research, focused at improving pain management in everyday life, and speficially in specialized hospital environments.