39133 - General Psychology (of Behavior)

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

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes


Topic of the course:
1. cognitive functions, the relationship between behavior and cognitive, emotional and motivational processes;
2. behavior assessment techniques and dietary habits;
3. communication techniques aimed to modify detrimental dietary habits and life styles.

Students will learn how to provide proper psychological support and will improve their communication skills learning how to interact with the patient using the more appropriate language according to each different patient and clinical case

Course contents

LEARNING AND MEMORY: Associative learning (classical/pavlovian and instrumental/operant conditioning). Rewards and punishments. Motivation and learning. Memory and Emotion.

ATTENTION: Human Information Processing. Attentional systems: arousal and sustained attention; selective attention; executive functions. 

CONSCIOUSNESS AND SLEEP: Wake-sleep alternation and circadian rythms; REM and NREM sleep; functions of sleep and dreaming; the effects of sleep deprivation on brain and behaviour. Sleep and metabolism.

EMOTION AND MOTIVATION: Biological basis of emotion. Theory of emotion. Emotional responses. Emotional expression and health. Motivation systems. Homeostatic and non homeostatic motivations. Emotion, motivation and eating bevhaviour and disorders.

STRESS : The stress response. Acute and chronic stress; physiological and psychological reactions to stress; coping strategies. Emotional modulation of stress and pain.

LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION: Verbal and non verbal languages. Acquisition of verbal language. Non verbal communication.Psychological and communication processes involved in doctor-patient relationship and in patient's compliance to treatment.




Feldman R.S. (2017, III ed), PSICOLOGIA GENERALE. McGraw-Hill.

Bellomo, A. (2004), Psicologia medica e abilità relazionali, Edizioni Minerva Medica. Capitoli: 5 (La comunicazione efficace), 6 (La relazione medico-paziente).

Benedetti, F. (2013). Placebo and the new physiology of the doctor-patientrelationship . Physiol Rev, 93:1207-46.

Teaching methods

Lectures. Classical psychology experiments will be simulated and typical patients behavior will be illustrated by video and research paper.
At the end of each lesson or topic, the specific references of recommended reading will be recalled.

Assessment methods

The exam will take place through an online interview, on the Teams platform.

Teaching tools

Lectures and simulation of classical experiments in psychology.
The handouts of lectures slides will be provided by the teacher on https://virtuale.unibo.it/

Office hours

See the website of Michela Mazzetti

See the website of Paolo Maria Russo