ISTC is the result of a fusion of various institutions such as: the former Institute of Psychology, the former Institute of Phonetics and Dialectology in Padova and some groups from Biomedical Technologies in Rome, LADSEB in Padova and from the Solid State Electronics group in Rome. Here is a brief history of the former Institutes
History of the Institute of Psychology
The Institute of Psychology was officially created in 1950, resulting from the transformation of a previously existing Center for the Study of Psychology, which was mainly dedicated to psychological testing for the military. During an initial phase, until the end of the 60s, most of the research produced by the Institute was in experimental psychology, psychophysiology, and intelligence and personality testing. During the 70s the Institute played an important role in two areas, that concerned with some critical social problems (education, handicap, treatment of psychiatric disorders) and that of the new interdisciplinary developments in the science of mind and behavior which were later on given the name of cognitive science.
While the Institute has continued to produce significant research in socially relevant fields, the more recent history of the Institute has been characterized by an interdisciplinary orientation, which has allowed the Institute to play a pioneer role in a number of research sectors that have later been incorporated also in academic research and teaching. These sectors include psycholinguistics as a bridge between psychology and linguistics, the study of the sign languages of the deaf, the study of the relationship between mind and built environments, primatology and the comparative study of cognitive abilities, artificial intelligence and computer simulation, the neurophysiological bases of perception and neuropsychology, neural networks and artificial life, the cognitive foundations of the new digital technologies, and the revision of traditional models of educational transmission.
History of Magnetoencelography Unit in Fatebenefratelli Hospital - Rome
The Magnetoencephalograpy (MEG) Unit is the result of some researchers branching from the Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies (Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie - IFN), another CNR institute derived from the merging of other CNR institutes.
It is located in Fatebenefratelli Hospital and its focus is on neurophysiological characterization of the central nervous system activity, focusing on sensory-motor cortex in normal and pathological conditions.
History of Institute of Phonetics and Dialectology
The Paduan Section of the ISTC was established when the Psychology Institute of Rome and the Phonetic and Dialectology Institute of Padua (IFD - Istituto di Fonetica e Dialettologia) merged together. This took place on 5th February 2002. The IFD became active on 1st June 1998, through a merge between two pre-existing Centers, the Center for the Study of Phonetic Research (CSRF) and the Center for the Study of Italian Dialectology "Oronzo Parlangeli" (CSDI). Both of these were founded by Carlo Tagliavini, the well-known professor of Glottology at University of Padua, in early seventies and were based on an agreement between the University of Padua and CNR at the Institute of Glottology and Phonetics.
The CSRF was directed by Prof. Lucio Croatto from 1971 to 1991 and by Prof. Alberto Zamboni from 1991 to 1998. It was characterized by the experimental setting up of phonetic research (which involved the establishment of a Laboratory that, because of the abundance and regular updating of the instrumentation, became a point of reference for all researchers in this sector for Italy) and by an interdisciplinary approach totally innovative for Italy that lead to the establishment of a team made up of linguists, acoustic physicists, computer engineers, speech therapists and psychologists, thanks to which the CSRF gained national and international publicity.
The CSDI, directed by Prof. Manlio Cortelazzo from 1973 to 1987, by Prof. Giovan Battista Pellegrini from 1987 to 1992 and by Prof. Alberto Mioni from 1992 to 1998, became the center of a series of research distributed all over the territory but organized in a unitary way with the scope of putting together a data base of Italian dialects at all levels: lexical, syntactical, phonological and phonetic, thanks to which elaboration on very important analyses have been carried out. Furthermore, the publication of a series of monographs regarding dialects and varieties of Italian of great cultural importance, which can also be utilized in interlinguistic research and educational centers, was entrusted to the CSDI.
These lines of research were confirmed at the time of the merging in 1998 of CSDI and CSRF into IFD, directed by Prof. Alberto Zamboni from 1998 to 2002, which then became a highly specialized Institute in the field of Speech Communication and in the study of language variation.
The subsequent confluence into ISTC was decided on the basis of the firm belief that research into theoretical, experimental and technological speech would associate perfectly with the cognitive and psycholinguistic research on various aspects of communication carried out by researchers of the IP (cognitive development and learning in children, artificial intelligence, neural network).
History of LADSEB (Institute for Systems Science and Biomedical Engineering)
This institute (now incorporated in ISIB-CNR) was founded in 1973 and included people working on biomedical models, medical informatics, systems science, robotics, and knowledge representation. In the latter field, a research line on "Conceptual Modeling and Knowledge Engineering" has been active since 1991.
Under the leadership of Nicola Guarino, this group gained an international reputation for its interdisciplinary approach focused on the role of philosophical ontology in the foundations of knowledge representation, information integration and retrieval, natural language processing, multi-agent systems, and information systems design.