Real facts and short fiction. Comments and Ratings. Bullets and Serials. Mixture of Science, Futurism and Personal Projections. A little of everything...
It was in the early 80's of the last century when a psychologist named Roberto began to work with us, a very affable man, always with a smile, I never saw him annoying, much less bothering anyone.
He was welcome in our Neurosciences collective, although he actually belonged to the psychology school of the university.
He immediately became interested in using the personal computers we had to design and create applications that would have an impact on psychology.
We talked a lot, he learned quickly to program, he was very determined and disciplined about it, as well as creative and restless. Wow, a jewel for our Neuroscience collective.
He set himself the task of inventing a computer game that would have some meaning for the interpretation and psychological evaluation of children. So he designed the following. On the left three tanks appear and randomly from one of them a bullet comes out and will travel from left to right. On the right is an object that can be moved vertically to three positions, and the task is to move this object up or down so that the bullet coming from the left does not reach it. It seems very simple, but in those years there was no proliferation of games, not even to play for the sake of playing.
The personal computers we used had very low graphic resolution and were slow to provide the required animations. But this game Roberto got it finished very well and measurements were made with adults to provide data such as reaction time, effective bullet velocities, etc.
The game was taken to a school for children with learning difficulties and it turned out that one of them could not learn how to avoid the bullets, so they began to study why and because of the name of this child they named this functional dysfunction Alexander Syndrome.
Roberto was an asthmatic with constant crises and became addicted to the excessive use of Salbutamol aerosol, which caused him to have a cardiorespiratory arrest one day, from which he did not come out and died.
We were all shocked and dismayed with this tragic news, it was a very hard blow for everyone but especially for Roberto's girlfriend. They loved each other very much and shared everything. She was also a psychologist.
Roberto was the founder of the use of computers for psychological evaluations through video games, and our Neurosciences collective always remembers him with great affection.
It was a short life but very well spent, and who knows how far he would have gone as a researcher? For sure he would have continued to be brilliant as he always was.
From here Roberto, this is our heartfelt tribute to your life and work, which influenced us all to continue your legacy and make computation a powerful tool for the different studies needed to know and evaluate the Central Nervous System.
Thank you, Roberto, for living and giving us so much of you.
We love you.