46486 - Applied Cognitive Psychology (Lab Techniques) (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Claudia Scorolli

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-PSI/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Communication Sciences (cod. 8885)

  • Course Timetable from Sep 21, 2021 to Oct 28, 2021


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

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The goal of the course is to offer a general view of the most important issues of Cognitive Psychology. The course is also aimed at explaining the main experimental paradigms.

Course contents

The lecture aims to introduce students to the main theories and methodologies of psychology 'at the service' of daily action. The course provides an in-depth look at some of the topics addressed in the course of Cognitive Psychology, following an applicative approach.

After an overview of the paradigms and methodologies of research in experimental psychology, we will discuss the recent empirical research aimed at examining the mental processes underlying human behavior, to understand how we extract from the external environment information functional to act, or how the simple observation of an object evokes a potential action towards it.

Evidence will be examined within the Embodied perspective of cognition, which has recently shown interesting interactions between 'superior' cognitive functions (e.g. memory, language, reasoning skills) and the sensorimotor system, suggesting that most cognitive processes occur through body control systems.

The different phases of the research process (identification of the problem; planning of the experimental design; data collection; analysis and interpretation of the results; dissemination, in contexts that are not only scientific) will be explored through group simulations of the experimental work. Circumscribing the research questions and selecting the most suitable methods (e.g. behavioral; kinematic; electrophysiological; virtual reality; subjective-qualitative), the central and current themes of cognitive psychology will be addressed, such as the relationship between space, action and word in different physical and social contexts of interaction; finally the possible applications will be questioned.

Prerequisites: basic knowledge of cognitive psychology ('Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics', compulsory activity of the first year of Communication Sciences).


The course will take place in the first semester - first period:

> on Tuesday, on Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; on Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Classroom B, via Azzo Gardino, 23 (see University updates about in presence - online teaching).


The following examination program (Readings/Bibliography) is exhaustive. The documents on Virtuale are ONLY for the attending students who participate in the teamwork and/or present the project proposal (they are NOT exam readings for all the other students).


The list of documents may be subject to change: do not purchase them before the beginning of the course. For attending students, more specific literature can be discussed with the professor during the course.

1) Handbook: Gnisci, A. e Pedon, A. Metodologia della ricerca psicologica, Metodologia della ricerca in Psicologia, il Mulino, 2016, CHAPTERS 2; 3; 4; 5 (only paragraphs 1, 2); 7 (only paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7); 9 (only paragraphs 1, 2); 10 (only paraphrases 1, 2, 3

[In case of unavailability due to Covid emergency: after notifying the professor, as an alternative, you can opt for: McBurney D.H. e White T.L., Metodologia della ricerca in Psicologia, il Mulino, 2008; or for: Shaughnessy J.J., Zechmeister E.B., Zechmeister J.S., Amoretti G., Lanz M. e Tagliabue S. Metodologia della ricerca in Psicologia. McGraw-Hill Education, 2016]

2) One of the following scientific papers:

- Scorolli, C., Pellicano, A., Nicoletti, R., Rubichi, S., & Castiello, U. (2015) The Simon effect in action: planning and/or on-line control effects? Cognitive Science, 39, 972-991. DOI: 10.1111/cogs.12188 (disponibile online accedendo da unibo)

- Costantini, M., Ambrosini, E., Scorolli, C. & Borghi, A. (2011). When objects are close to me: affordances in the peripersonal space. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 32-38. doi: 10.3758/s13423-011-0054-4 (disponibile online accendendo da unibo).

- Scorolli, C., Miatton, M., Wheaton, L., & Borghi, A.M. (2014). I give you a cup, I get a cup: a kinematic study on social intention. Neuropsychologia, 57, 196-204. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.03.006 (disponibile online accendendo da unibo).

- Scorolli, C., Daprati, E., Nico, D., & Borghi, A.M. (2016). Reaching for Objects or Asking for them: Distance Estimation in 7- to 15-Years-Old Children. Journal of Motor Behavior, 48, 2, 183-191. DOI: 10.1080/00222895.2015.1070787 (disponibile online accedendo da unibo)


> Only for students attending the course: slides, possible other materials and information on team-works will be available on https://virtuale.unibo.it/


For students attending the course, other possible scientific articles (different from the ones reported above) will be identified and indicated during the course according to the specific interests of the students. In this regard, the databases of interest for the psychological field are: http://www2.sba.unibo.it/cgi-bin/bdati/banchedati.pl?keys=Psicologia (ad es.: PsycINFO; Pubmed; Scopus; Web of science). Per articoli in italiano: Giornale Italiano di Psicologia: https://www.rivisteweb.it/issn/0390-5349 o Sistemi Intelligenti: https://www.rivisteweb.it/issn/1120-955

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons, with power point presentations, simulations of experiments, discussions.

Assessment methods

The (oral) exam will be aimed at verifying the achievement of a critical vision of the topics addressed during the lecture

Attending students (active involvement in teamwork) can decide with the professor to write a project proposal (more information will be provided during the course). The project proposal must be sent by email 10 days before the exam date (except for the first examination). The project proposal will be discussed at the oral exam, together with the related bibliography and the topics discussed in the course. This modality of assessment, tailored for those who have attended the whole course, can only be adopted for three exams (the non-attending modality remains valid).

For the exam the selected materials (articles) must be provided to the professor in paper or electronic format (original texts, pdf).

Evaluation criteria:

Excellence for

  • excellent knowledge of the acquired contents;
  • critical remarks on those contents;
  • congruity of the used terminology;
  • acquisition of a consistent-organic vision;
  • ability to orientate between different theoretical and methodological views.

Average for

  • a mnemonic knowledge of the subject;
  • synthesis and analysis articulated with a correct language, but not always appropriate.

Insufficient in case of

  • knowledge gaps and / or inappropriate language;
  • poor mastering of bibliographic materials provided during the course.

Teaching tools

Power point presentations.

Office hours

See the website of Claudia Scorolli