07283 - Environmental Psychology

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Marco Costa

  • Learning modules Marco Costa (Modulo 1)
    Leonardo Bonetti (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-PSI/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Cesena

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Applied cognitive psychology (cod. 0991)


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

Good health and well-being Affordable and clean energy Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student will learn how the environment could impact human cognition and behavior and, the reverse, how human cognition and behavior could impact the environment. 

Studying the methods of cognitive ergonomics the students will be able to analyize important factors that affect usability and error-prevention in design. The students will be able to plan interventions for increasing safety, usability, legibility in different domains. 

The student will be able to analyse how changes in architectural or landscape design will affect user's cognition and behavior, and how to project interventions in the field of environmental psychology. 

Course contents

The course will be in the first semester from end of September until end of November (45 hours). It is divided in two modules, the first (25 hours) will be held by Dott. Leonardo Bonetti and the second (20 hours) will be held by Prof. Marco Costa.

Module 1 Dott. Leonardo Bonetti 

- Cognitive ergonomics, methods in ergonomics, reaction times and eye movements for the assessment of cognitive load. Usability improvement in human-machine interfaces, websites, advertisement.

- Cognitive maps and improvement of wayfinding in new environments.

- Cognitive psychology applied to road safety. 

During the module Dott. Leonardo Bonetti will assign a team work in which students will be engaged in the planning of an intervention in cognitive ergonomics. 

Module 2 Prof. Marco Costa

Cognitive representation of space: landmarks, edges, paths, nodes, districts.
Aesthetics of architecture and landscape.
Biophilic design and restorative effects of green spaces. 
Ecological behaviors.
Place attachment.
Proxemics, interpersonal distances and territoriality.
Color perception, color measure and color use in architecture.
Lightening design.
Environmental noise and noise sensitivity. 
Applied cognitive psychology for the improvement of residential, work, therapeutic and educational environments. 


Module 1 - Dott. Leonardo Bonetti

Di Nocera, F. (2010). Che cos'è l'ergonomia cognitiva. Roma: Carocci

The following papers:

Costa, M., Bonetti, L., Vignali, V., Bichicchi, A., Lantieri, C., Simone, A. (2019). Driver's visual attention to different categories of roadside advertising signs. Applied Ergonomics, 78, 127-136

Costa, M., Bonetti, L. (2018). Geometrical distortions in large-scale cognitive geographical maps. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 55, 53-69. doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2017.12.004)

Romano Bergstrom, J. C., Olmsted-Hawala, E. L., & Jans, M. E. (2013). Age-related differences in eye tracking and usability performance: website usability for older adults. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 29(8), 541-548.

Module 2 - Prof. Marco Costa

Costa, M (2016). Psicologia ambientale e architettonica. Milano: FrancoAngeli.

Teaching methods

Lessons, practical exercises, team works (Dott. Leonardo Bonetti's module), analysis of scientific papers.

Assessment methods

Attending students:

- team work report about an intervention project in ergonomics: max 10 points.

- written examination with six open questions in two-hour time at the end of the I semester (middle December): max 20 points.

Non-attending students:

Written examination with 10 open questions in two-hour time: max 30 points.

Teaching tools

Students are advised to bring their laptop during lessons, as well as basic drawing tools. 

Office hours

See the website of Marco Costa

See the website of Leonardo Bonetti