Emerging Communication

Series and list of volumes

    Communication in VR

    Towards CyberPsychology

    Say not to say


    Being there

    Ambient Intelligence

    The hidden structure
    of interaction

    From Communication to


IOS Press

Editorial Board

Series and list of volumes - Summary

Studies on new technologies and practices in communication
publishes state-of-the-art monographic volumes that examine a broad range of issues in communication technology, theories, research, practices and applications.
It presents the latest development in the field of traditional and computer- mediated communication with emphasis on novel technologies and theoretical work in this multidisciplinary area of pure and applied research.

1. Communication in VR

Communications Through Virtual Technologies: Identity, Community and Technology in the Communication Age

For many researchers virtual reality (VR) is first of all a technology. This vision is also well reflected in the growing research work concerned with virtual environments: most of it has addressed more the development of new rendering technologies rather than the highly interactive and dynamic nature of user-system interaction that VR supports. However, this focus on technology is disappointing for developers and researchers. To overcome this limitation, the book describes VR as an advanced communication tool: a communication interface in single-user VR, and a communication medium in the case of multi-user VR. This book is part of a general inquiry into the implications of new technologies like VR. The shifting structures of communication systems present historic opportunities and challenges for communication researchers and that these require multidisciplinary approaches to communication research. Virtual reality may become the ship that helps us sail the vast oceans of cyberspace. This book is our attempt to construct a paper telescope to scan the horizon for signs of communication (and life) in the age of virtual reality.

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2. Towards CyberPsychology

Mind, Cognition and Society in the Internet Age

Apart from studying online environments, psychology is also discovering the great opportunities inherent in this medium. Psychological applications using the Net, especially the World Wide Web, have recently appeared. Specifically, it is possible to identify ten types of psychological Internet applications: information resources on psychological concepts and issues; self-help guides; psychological testing and assessment; help in deciding to undergo therapy; information about specific psychological services; single-session psychological advice through e-mail or e-bulletin boards; ongoing personal counseling and therapy through e-mail; real-time counseling through chat, web telephony, and videoconferencing; synchronous and asynchronous support groups, discussion groups, and group counseling; and psychological and social research. Drawing on research in the social sciences, communications, and other fields, this book wants to analyze how online environments - the Internet, Virtual Reality and Telemedicine - influencing the experience of psychology. By defining a new research area, the “CyberPsychology”, the Editors tries to provide some guidelines for understanding the processes by which we manage our experience - construct identities, create communities and make meanings - through the most advanced communication media. The topics discussed directly involve critical issues for designers and users, and are presented with scientific competence and suggestions for actual use.

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3. Say not to Say

New perspectives on miscommunication

Many of us, when asked about communication, usually think of it as a mere information transmission from a source to a receiver by means of coding-encoding processes. However, different studies during the last fifty years clearly underlined that one thing is what is said, another is what is meant. In fact, many meanings are characterized by fuzzy boundaries that are defined by the context in which they are expressed. Within this perspective, meaning is not a fixed system of univocal correspondences between expression and content, but a set of possible inferences that have different probability degrees of realization.
Starting from these premises, the Editors try to provide some guidelines to understand the processes by which we manage our experience - make meanings, construct identities and search for friends and partners - through the analysis of miscommunication processes. According to the approach proposed by the Editors, miscommunication is considered not only as a defect or a mismatch, but also as a plus and as a powerful device in the hands of the communicators. In this sense, miscommunication can be considered as a chance, because it enhances the degrees of freedom available to communicators in their interaction.
This vision has a strong effect on the possibility of improving the communication process: communicators have the opportunity to manage their communicative strategy in the best possible way, given the contextual constraints and their respective encyclopaedia of knowledge. Through the choice of specific linguistic and extra-linguistic hints and clues - intonation, the word order in an utterance, an extra stress and so on - the speaker can convey different meanings and adapt them to a specific context.
The topics discussed directly involve critical issues for many application areas such as marketing, advertising, group management, media and new media development, and are presented with scientific competence and suggestions for actual use.

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4. Cybertherapy

Internet and Virtual Reality As Assessment and Rehabilitation Tools for Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience

Cybertherapy, the integration of telehealth technologies with the Internet and shared virtual reality, is used for two reasons: either because there is no alternative, or because it is in some sense better than traditional medicine. Nevertheless, the benefits of cybertherapy, due to the variety of its applications and their uneven development, are not self-evident. However, the emergence of cybertherapy is supporting the cost-effectiveness of certain applications, such as assessment, rehabilitation and therapy in clinical psychology and neuroscience. Its key advantage is the possibility of sharing different media and different health care tools in a simple to use and easily accessible interface. To date, some cybertherapy applications have improved the quality of health care, and later they will probably lead to substantial cost savings. However, cybertherapy is not simply a technology but a complex technological and relational process. In this sense, clinicians and healthcare providers that want to successfully exploit cybertherapy need to give significant attention to clinical issues, technology, ergonomics, human factors and organizational changes in the structure of the relevant health service. The goal of this volume is to analyze the processes by which cybertherapy applications will contribute to the delivery of state-of-the-art health services. Particular attention is given to the clinical use of virtual reality technology. More in detail, this volume aims at supporting clinicians and scientists, interested in the cybertherapy innovative approach, providing them clinical protocols for the treatment of eating disorders, social phobias, panic disorders and sexual dysfunctions.

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5. Being There

Concepts, Effects and Measurement of User Presence in Synthetic Environments

"Presence", the sense of "being there" in a mediated environment, has been applied to describe the user experience when interacting with advanced media interfaces such as virtual environments. Why examine the concept of presence? There are compelling practical and theoretical reasons. The definition of the construct of presence is of particular interest today because it has the potential relevance for the design and evaluation of a broad range of interactive and non-interactive media and applications in several areas such as medicine, entertainment, education and training. An enhanced sense of presence plays an important role in technologies such as the video telephone, high definition television (HDTV), 3G portable phones, home and arcade video games, the World Wide Web, and more. The book examines the different facets of the concept of presence. It begins by noting practical and theoretical reasons for studying this concept. Different theories of presence are identified and a detailed description of the concepts included in these conceptualizations is presented. Existing research and about the factors that encourage or discourage a sense of presence in media users as well as the physiological and psychological effects of presence are then outlined. Finally, suggestions concerning possible evolutions of this concept allowed by the diffusion of ambient intelligence and 3G portable communication are presented.

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6. Ambient Intelligence

The evolution of technology, communication and cognition towards the future of human-computer interaction

The metaphor of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) tries to picture a vision of the future where all of us will be surrounded by “intelligent” electronic environments, and this ambient has claims to being sensitive and responsive to our needs. A multitude of sensors and actuators are already embedded in very-small or very large information and communication technologies, and it is only a question of time when better use can be gained from these complex (yet still extraordinarily primitive) technology systems.
The emphasis of AmI is on greater user-friendliness, more efficient services support, user-empowerment, and support for human interactions. Focusing on these features, Europe can exploit its technology advantage in areas such as mobile communications, portable devices, systems integration, embedded computing and intelligent systems design. However, the success of this vision will be based on the social dimension of innovation, the ability as well as the willingness of society to use, absorb or adapt to technological opportunities.
The goal of this volume is to assess the technologies and processes that are behind the AmI vision to help the development of state-of-the-art applications. More in detail, this volume aims at supporting researchers and scientists, interested in the understanding and exploiting the potential of AmI, seeing that strong multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach is a key requirement for large scale technology innovation and the development of effective applications.

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7. The Hidden Structure of Interaction

From Neurons to Culture Patterns

The idea of complexity states that most things tend to organize themselves into recurring patterns, even when these patterns are not immediately visible to an external observer. The general name for the scientific field concerned with the behavior over time of a dynamic system is “complexity theory”. The dynamic systems – systems capable of changing over time – are the focus of this approach, and its concern is with the predictability of their behavior. The systems of interest to the complexity theory, under certain conditions, perform in regular, predictable ways; under other conditions they exhibit behavior in which regularity and predictability is lost. The concepts of stable and unstable behavior are part of the traditional repertoire of physical science. What is novel is the concept of something in between – chaotic behavior. For chaos here we refer to systems which display behavior that, though it has certain regularities, defies prediction. How does the order emerge from the chaos? How can we predict the behavior of a chaotic system? Over the last 30 years and more, trying to identify the hidden patterns behind chaotic behavior became the focus of attention in a number of scientific disciplines. These range as widely as astronomy, chemistry, evolutionary biology, geology and psychology.

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8. From Communication to Presence

Cognition, Emotions and Culture towards the Ultimate Communicative Experience
Festschrift in honor of Luigi Anolli

The convergence between telecommunication, virtual reality and artificial intelligence technologies resulted in a dramatic increase and modification of the opportunities to experience the physical and social world. In the latest media - high definition TV, computer games and, especially, Virtual Reality – the user is no more a passive receiver but fully experiences the media content: he is present in it.
What is presence and how can we manipulate it within a communicative experience? The book tries to outline a unitary theory of interpersonal relationship where communication and presence are simply the two faces of the same coin: intersubjective experience. In particular, the main message of the book is the following: the cooperative activities are created and governed by a reciprocal intentional game between the communicators regulated by the level of presence experienced by the interactants.
Miscommunication has a central role in these processes. This is why this book tries to provide the reader with worthwhile options for a vast array of specific communicative contexts – leisure, learning and therapy - and discusses the theories and methods needed to understand them. After completing this text, the reader should thus be better equipped to make more reasoned and more effective communication decisions.

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9. Global Data Management

An unforeseen growth of the volume and diversity of the data, content and knowledge is being generated all over the globe. Several factors lead to this growing complexity, among them: Size (the sheer increase in the numbers of knowledge producers and users, and in their production/use capabilities), Pervasiveness (in space and time of knowledge, knowledge producers and users), Dynamicity (new and old knowledge items will appear and disappear virtually at any moment), Unpredictability (the future dynamics of knowledge are unknown not only at design time but also at run time). The situation is made worse by the fact that the complexity of knowledge grows exponentially with the number of interconnected components. The traditional approach of knowledge management and engineering is top-down and centralised, and depends on fixing at design time what can be expressed and how. Global Data Management is playing a crucial role in the development of our networked distributed society. Its importance has been recognised in the IST programme since several years, in particular in its long-term research part, Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). Many of the papers included in this book refer to IST and FET projects currently running or recently completed.

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10. Enacting Intersubjectivity

A Cognitive and Social Perspective on the Study of Interactions

In recent years a new trend in socio-cognitive research investigates into the mental capacities that allow humans to relate to each other and to engage in social interactions. One of the main streams is the study of intersubjectivity, namely the ‘mutual sharing of experiences’, conceived of as a basic dimension of consciousness on which socialness is grounded. At the very heart of contemporary studies is an intense debate around some central questions that concern the nature and forms of human intersubjectivity, its development and its role in situated joint activities. Striving to achieve a unified theoretical framework, these studies are characterized by a strong interdisciplinary approach founded on philosophical accounts, conceptual analysis, neuroscientific results and experimental data offered by developmental and comparative psychology. This book aims to give a general overview of this relevant and innovative area of research by bringing together seventeen contributions by eminent scholars who address the more relevant issues in the field.

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Advanced Technologies in Rehabilitation

Empowering Cognitive, Physical, Social and Communicative Skills through Virtual Reality, Robots, Wearable Systems and Brain-Computer Interfaces

New rehabilitation technologies can provide more responsive treatment tools or augment the therapeutic process. However, the absence of education about technological advancements and apprehensions by clinicians related to the role of technology in the treatment delivery process puts us at risk of losing the benefit of an essential partner in achieving successful outcomes with the physically disabled and aging population. If technology transfer is to become successful, we need to establish collaborative interactions in which the goals of each discipline become overlapping with the skills and goals of the other fields of endeavor and of the consumer. The chapters in this book address the questions of what research is currently taking place to further develop rehabilitation applied technology and how we have been able to modify and measure responses in both healthy and clinical populations using these technologies. Specifically, the book clearly demonstrates that in order to design appropriate system features and successful interventions, developers and the users need to be familiar with the scientific rationale for motor learning and motor control, as well as the motor impairments presented by different clinical populations. Ultimately, the impact of these new technologies will depend very much on mutual communication and collaboration between clinicians, engineers, scientists, and the people with disabilities that the technology will most directly impact.

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11. Reinterpreting Gesture as Language

Language "in action"

The aim of the present volume is to exploit some methodological instruments provided by Linguistics in order to restore gesture to its original perview within the field. Specifically, the major claim of this book is that gesture and speech share the same cognitive, psychological and physiological roots. In fact, gesture will here be claimed to be integral to human language, its function within human communication being as much goal-directed (MacKay, 1972) and, subsequently, communicative as speech. Evidence for this assumption is provided by means of experiments on hearing and deaf subjects, in addition to a review of the major findings about the use and function of gesture in situations of handicap, such as aphasia and blindness. The ideas proposed here are result of a long speculation on the role of gesture in communicative acts, on the one hand, and with respect to language, on the other hand, matured during the decade of my professorship in Non-Verbal Communication, which began at the University of Pavia, and is now continuing at both national and international levels.

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