84236 - Ethics and Behavioural Sciences

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

Identify the main ethical issues involved in the doctor-patient/family interaction, including confidentiality, informed consent, withdrawal of treatment, chronic illness, age-related cognitive limits, death and bereavement, cultural concerns, and complementary health practices. Recognize the most frequent difficulties in doctor-patient interaction due to age-, personality- and motivation-related variations in the functioning of the cognitive processes (perception, attention, learning, memory and thinking), emotional and interpersonal processes (recognition and control of emotions, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, expectations and attitudes). Recognize the basic components of the strategies of informative and persuasive communication to improve patient’s cooperation and adherence to medical care.

Course contents

Historical perspective on medical deontology from Hippocrates to the Declaration of Helsinki. Confidentiality, informed consent, withdrawal of treatment.

Life span neuroethics. Development of the nervous system: conferring moral status on an embryo. The aging brain. Better brains through genes?

Methodological approaches in behavioral sciences, from neuropsychology to the neuroimaging techniques: a brief overview on how novel techniques might affect ethical choices.

Non verbal communication. Perception:of facial cues and body gestures. Facial cues in non-verbal communication: recognition of identity, perception of facial expressions of emotion and eye gaze perception. First impression.

Understanding others. Emotions and their neurophysiological basis. Neurophysiological basis of empathy and emotions: mirror neurons and the theory of mind areas. Stress and burnout syndrome.

Teaching methods

Lectures with slides. At the end of each lecture a pdf with the powerpoint presentation will be distributed to students. Pdfs with the powerpoint presentations of the lectures will be the material to be reviewed for the written exam at the end of the course.

Assessment methods

At the end of the course there will be a written, short answer exam on the topics covered during the lectures.

Office hours

See the website of Maria Ida Gobbini