87208 - Cognition and Neuroscience (2nd cycle)

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to provide advanced knowledge on the neural substrates of mental processes. Theoretical, methodological and experimental contributions of contemporary neurosciences will be analyzed, integrating a variety of research methods, including behavioral, neurophysiological, psychopharmacological and neuroimaging methods. Topics covered will include attention, learning and memory, cognitive control, decisions and reward systems. Teaching is based on the integration between lectures and interactive and practical learning tools, including seminars, workshops, and discussion of scientific papers

Course contents

At the end of the course the student is be able to:

  • get in-depth understanding of the neural substrates and functional mechanisms of mental processes;
  • get knowledge of the-state-of-the-art methodologies and novel approaches of current research in Cognitive Neuroscience;
  • critically review and discuss the theoretical and empirical contributions of the current literature, understand and analyse the methods employed, interpret their results and critically assess their conclusions;
  • exercise the ability to engage in creative thinking leading to formulations of new hypotheses and planning of their empirical testing.
  • The course Cognition & Neuroscience is divided into two teaching modules.

    Module 1 (3 CFU, prof. V. Romei):

    • An introduction to past and current paradigms in theoretical and empirical research in Cognitive Neuroscience;
    • Combining multiple methods to address outstanding questions in Cognitive Neuroscience;
    • Perception, Attention and Cognition;
    • A functional role for brain oscillations in human cognition;
    • From localization of function to functional integration;
    • Multisensory Integration;
    • Conscious processes of the human brain.

    Module 2 (3 CFU, prof. G. di Pellegrino):

    • Learning, reward and decisions in the brain
    • What happens in our brain when we feel fear?
    • Motor control
    • Conflict and cognitive control in the brain

Readings/Bibliography

Scientific articles and lecture material will be available on "IOL – Insegnamenti online" and will represent the core material needed for passing the exam.

Teaching methods

Lectures on the different topics of the modules will be approached in an interactive way, through the discussion of neuroscientific articles, organization of small groups led by the teacher and aimed at in depth discussion and presentations to the classroom. The student will therefore be required to participate actively during the lectures, ask questions about the topics discussed, stimulate the debate and critically discuss the scientific articles assigned during the course.

Assessment methods

Consists of a written exam including 4 open questions for which a total time of 60 minutes (15 minutes per question) is allowed. The exam is aimed at verifying the acquired knowledge of the core arguments discussed during the course. Answers should be provided in Italian or English.

2 open questions on the topics covered in Module 1 (prof. di Romei) and 2 open questions on the topics covered in Module 2 (prof. di Pellegrino).

Up to 7,5 points are assigned for each question. The final score (out of thirty) is given by the sum of the points obtained to each single question.

The following criteria will be applied for the evaluation of each answer.

An answer which

  • demonstrates extensive knowledge and understanding of tested topic (up to 4 points);
  • reveals critical analysis and ability to integrate different aspects of the literature (up to 2 points);
  • is well-written, and logically articulated (up to 1,5).

During the exam, the students are not allowed to use any lecture material nor books, scientific articles, personal notes, or computer media. The student must enroll in the exam using the Almaesami application, strictly by the deadline. Those who fail to enroll for technical issues by the due date are required to report the problem to the “segreteria didattica” (and in any case before the deadline) and send an email to prof. Romei or to prof di Pellegrino who will ultimately decide whether to admit the student to take the exam.

NOTE (17/04/2020): Due to the recent health emergency linked to Covid-19, in the next sessions, exams will take place remotely via Teams, and will consist of 1 question for module 1 (di Pellegrino), and 1 question for module 2 (Romei). Each question will focus on the discussion and critical analysis of a scientific article chosen from those published in the course's online teaching materials. Each correct answer will allow you to get 15 points, for a total of 30 points / 30.

 

Teaching tools

PowerPoint slides, video clips

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppe Di Pellegrino

See the website of Vincenzo Romei