Orcid: orcid.org/0000-0003-2153-0169

ResearcherID: M-3163-2013

Scopus Author ID: 36718039400

My name is Silvia Riva and I am a researcher at the University of Milan. I study the cognitive mechanisms underlying judgments and decisions and how they are influenced by the characteristics of the environment and the skills of the decision maker. A great part of my research focuses on the use of mental strategies (heuristics) that can impact of individual's choice, positively or negatively. Thematically, I am involved in research related with medical choices, with a focus on hematological and oncological conditions. I am particularly interested in several processes such as information search, risk perception, trust relationships, the role of emotions and decision making. In simple words, I try to understand "How people with limited time and cognition make good decisions for their own health and well-being?".

Operatively, I am involved in clinical research activities with different type of patients. My work consists in making psychological evaluations and giving support to patients, especially in particular moments such as diagnosis or during the treatment where patients have to cope with the disease and they have to manage emotions and take several risks. I do my clinical activities at the IRCCS Ca' Granda Policlinic Hospital and at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), both based in Milan. In my clinical work, I am also conducting some research in the field of neuropsychology, especially related with the cognitive damage in patients affected by HIV, thrombocytopenia, hemophilia and other hematological or oncological conditions. Recently, aging issues and frailty are another topic of my research interest.

Together with my activity as a researcher and as a clinician, I have a great passion: classical music and I sing as a soprano in a symphonic orchestra!.



After a solid postgraduate traineeship in Australia (Coasit/Melbourne University) and a position as a Marie Curie fellow in Germany (Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf) taking part in the Murinet project, I have obtained my doctorate (Doctor Europaeus) in Psychology at the Catholic University of Milan. I did my doctorate in collaboration with a researcher of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Adaptive Behavior and Cognition unit in Berlin (Germany) that is a specialized centre for decision making research. My dissertation has been aimed at applying the concept of bounded rationality in medical choices in order to analyse the process by which laypersons make decisions in the field of non-prescription drugs therapy. I have studied which heuristics (especially fast and frugal) people use, which learning styles they adopt, and the impact of socio-demographics variables (such as age, gender, education) on medical decisions. Since 2009, after holding a Marie Curie Fellowship, I have been collaborating for some European projects as a member of the Marie Curie Fellows Association (MCFA). My training is inspired by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach (Humanitas Psychotherapy School of Milan) - focusing on Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Compassion Therapy (ACT), Commitment Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).


My most important academic tools are Pubmed, Scopus and Google, which help in keeping me informed about all the new interesting research articles in the web. Next to literature searching, I like analyzing data. Therefore, SPSS and SAS are two important instruments for me. I also use specific softwares for certain task, such as G*Power (to calculate sample size), Google calendar to organize all my activities and Dropbox, which help me to unify my different documents in an unique virtual space. Outside my "research tools", my most important support is represented by my family that gives me energy, enthusiasm and the capability for staying strong and not giving up.


Silvia Riva's favorite papers

- Riva Silvia, Nobili Alessandro, Pravettoni Gabriella (2015) Light and shade behind the opt-out system for the HIV screening, The Lancet HIV, Volume 2, Issue 8, Page e317, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(15)00135-6

- Riva Silvia, Cutica Ilaria, Krampe Caspar, Reinecke Laura, Russell-Edu William, Santoro Cristina, Rocino Angiola, Santagostino Elena, Rusconi Vega and Pravettoni Gabriella (2015). A cohort pilot study on HIV-associated neuropsychological impairments in hemophilia patients. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9:313.
DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00313

- Riva Silvia, Camerini Anne-Linda, Allam Ahmad, Schulz Peter. Interactive Sections of an Internet-Based Intervention Increase Empowerment of Chronic Back Pain Patients: Randomized Controlled Trial. Eysenbach G, ed. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2014;16(8):e180, DOI:10.2196/jmir.3474.

- Riva Silvia, Monti Marco, Iannello Paola, Antonietti Alessandro (2012) The Representation of Risk in Routine Medical Experience: What Actions for Contemporary Health Policy? PLoS ONE 7(11): e48297. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0048297

For a full list of all published papers, please visit the following website:


- Being a Marie Curie Fellow in Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)

- Bayer Hemophilia award

- The RESIST Study


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