91247 - Cognition and Neuroscience

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student knows state-of-art human and animal research that uses neuroscience techniques to understand the cognitive and emotional aspects of the human mind and behavior. The student is able to critically read experimental and theoretical studies of cognitive and affective neuroscience, to evaluate their methods and results, explain their significance, and apply such notions in the study and development of artificial intelligence systems.

Course contents

How do neurons in the brain give rise to mind – to our abilities to sense and perceive the world, to act and think about it, to learn and remember it ? This course will provide an accessible but highly challenging survey of the empirical evidence, theories and methods in cognitive neuroscience exploring how cognition is instantiated in neural activity. Drawing on a wide variety of investigative tools available to cognitive neuroscience, the course explores the neural mechanisms underlying complex cognitive processes, including perception, attention and consciousness, learning and emotion, cognitive control and decision-making. Importantly, the course examines the logic and assumptions that permit us to interpret brain activity in psychological terms.


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 (4 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 (2 CFU, prof. G. di Pellegrino):

  • Neural bases of selective visual attention

  • Decision-making in the brain 



Previous knowledge required:

Prerequisite involves high-school knowledge of the biology of the Central Nervous System


In addition, it is highly recommended to attend to online video lectures on Neuroscience Core concepts, freely available at the Society for Neuroscience website:





Scientific articles and lecture material will be available on Insegnamenti Online [https://iol.unibo.it/ ] 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 3 open questions for which a total time of 60 minutes (20 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 English.

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

Up to 10 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 5 points);
  • reveals critical analysis and ability to integrate different aspects of the literature (up to 3 points);
  • is well-written, and logically articulated (up to 2).

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.


Notice: Due to the Covid-19 emergency, oral examination will be implemented for the coming exam sessions and until further notice. Oral exams will be conducted via TEAMS and consisting of 3 questions: Each correct response will allow a maximum score of up to 10 points, for a total of 30 out of 30 scores.


Teaching tools

PowerPoint slides, Video Clips, scientific articles

Office hours

See the website of Vincenzo Romei

See the website of Giuseppe Di Pellegrino