Principal Investigator: Paul Verschure.

Research Group recognized by the Generalitat GRE (2009 SGR 709)

The laboratory for Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems - SPECS - uses synthetic methods to study and synthesize the neuronal, psychological and behavioural principles underlying perception, emotion and cognition. SPECS activities are organized around three complementary dimensions:

  • Theory of mind and brain
  • Biomimetic real-world artifacts
  • Brain repair and quality of life technologies


The SPECS research group uses synthetic methods to study and synthesize the early neural, psychological and behavioral problems that underlie perception, emotion and cognition. The synthetic approach of SPECS combines real-world systems such as robots, virtual reality systems and interactive installations with anatomical, physiological and behavioral computer models. It is in this constructive approach that SPECS maintains the vision of a mind, brain and behavior system, while trying to clarify its underlying principles. Moreover, this approach directly proposes the emergence of new devices based on the brain and these synthetic, perceptual, emotional and cognitive systems, in turn it may provide new technologies for real-world problems including improving the quality of life.


SPECS develops interdisciplinary research in the fields of Neuroscience, Technology and Humanities, and has long experience in the fields of computational neuroscience, cognitive science, neuro-robotics and interactive systems. SPECS' work develops around the neuronal, psychological and computational principles of perception, emotion, cognition and behavior. It is one of the few laboratories worldwide to have an iCub humanoid robot, the only one in Spain, and with which the group studies in depth the human learning processes using artificial systems. This means the humanoid robot is equipped with new algorithms based on biological processes, which is one of the most established areas of research in SPECS.


The group's research is quite multidisciplinary and covers the following areas:

  • Cognitive Systems:
  • Hybrid Systems and Neuro-prosthetic
  • Robotics
  • Psycho-physiology
  • Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality
  • Creativity and Interaction
  • Neuro-Rehabilitation