Michael Villano

Michael Villano

Research Assistant Professor

Ph.D., New York University 

  • Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

(574) 631-9894


Corbett Family Hall

Notre Dame, IN 46556

eMotion and eCognition Lab

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Human robotic interaction and applications of video game and robot technology to a variety of health and social issues.


Dr. Villano serves as the Assistant Director of the eMotion and eCognition Laboratory where he conducts research in human robotic interaction and applications of video game and robot technology to a variety of health and social issues. Current projects include scaffolding social skills in autism therapy with humanoid robots, rehabilitating stroke patients using Wii Balance boards, and investigating moral decision-making of drone pilots in a simulated 3D game environment.

Prior to returning to the academic environment, Dr. Villano conducted research and development for various industries in e-commerce, web-based electronic performance support systems, human-computer interaction, ergonomics and computer-based simulation and training. Dr. Villano is also the faculty supervisor for the Psychology Department’s undergraduate and graduate computer clusters and provides research computer consulting to the Psychology Department.

Recent Publications

Shermerhorn, P., Crowell, C. R., Scheutz, M. & Villano, M. (In preparation). Social presence effects of gendered voice and robot entities: perceptions and preconceptions. International Journal of Social Robotics. 

Radvansky, G. A., D’Mello, S., Abbott, R. G., Morgan, B., Fike, K., Tamplin, A. K. and Villano, M. (Resubmitted). Rum Runner: A Strategy Switching Model. 

Fuhs, M. W., McNeil, N. M., Kelley, K. and Villano. M. (Submitted – Journal of Cognition and Development) Visual Stimuli Features Influence Approximate Number System Training in Preschoolers. 

Kajzer, M., Villano, M., Segerson, J., Zenk, J., & Crowell, C. (under review). Using chatutterances to predict pseudo-child or sexual offender. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. IF = 1.842.

Diehl, J.J., Crowell, C.R., Villano, M., Wier, K., Tang, K., & Riek, L. (2014). The clinical applications of robots in the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In V.B. Patel, V.R. Preedy, and C.R. Martin (Eds.), A comprehensive guide to autism (pp. 411-422). Springer Publishing.

Kennedy, M.W., Crowell, C.R., Striegel, A.D., Villano, M., and Schmiedeler, J.P., (2013). Relative efficacy of various strategies for visual feedback in standing balance activities, Experimental Brain Research, vol. 230, no. 1, pp. 117-125. 

Diehl, J.J., Crowell, C.R., Villano, M., Wier, K, & Tang, K. (2013). Robots as co-therapists in behavior therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Spectrum News 6(1), 14. 

Biggs, A. T., Kreager, R. D., Gibson, B. S, Villano, M., & Crowell, C. R. (2012). Semantic and affective salience: The role of meaning and preference in attentional capture and disengagement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Apr;38(2):531-41. doi: 10.1037/a0027394. Epub 2012 Mar 5. 

Diehl, J.J., Schmitt, L.*, Crowell, C.R., & Villano, M. (2012). The clinical use of robots for children with autism spectrum disorders: A critical review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(1), 249-262. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2011.05.006. PMCID: PMC3223958. Impact Factor: 2.907 (2012). 

Kennedy, M. W., Schmiedeler, J. P., Striegel, A. D., Crowell, C. R., Villano, M., & Kuitse, J. (2011). Enhanced Feedback in Balance Rehabilitation using the Nintendo Wii Balance Board. Proceedings of the IEEE Healthcom 2011 - Technology Enabled Personalized Medicine: IEEE-Healthcom.