71991 - Clinical Psychophysiology I .

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Eliana Tossani

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-PSI/08

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Cesena

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Clinical psychology (cod. 0990)

  • Course Timetable from Oct 25, 2021 to Nov 22, 2021


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

The aim of this course is to give students a basic knowledge on neurobiological and neurophysiological mechanisms of mental disorders and their treatments.

Course contents

A general frame of Clinical Psychophysiology.

The psychophysiology of emotion.

The role of clinical psychophysiology in psychological assessment.

The concept of stress, stressful events and resilience. Physiological resonance of psychosocial stress.

Psychophysiological correlates of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychosomatic disorders, schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Elements of clinical psychopharmacology (anxiolytics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics drugs). Mechanisms of sensitization and resistance.

Psychophysiological changes in psychotherapy. Clinical psychophysiology and psychotherapy research.

The mechanism of the psychophysiological effetcs of placebo. The placebo effect in psychotherapy.

Mind-body therapies: psychophysiological aspects of the Top-Down and Bottom-Up mechanisms.

Psychophysiological effects of imaginative techniques and therapies.

Psychophysiological effects of meditation techniques.


Lectures will be in Italian language and will take place during the 1st semester (from October to November) at the Cesena Campus of the School of Psychology (address: Piazza Aldo Moro, 90 - Cesena).


Recommended reading:

Stahl S.M., Neuro Psicofarmacologia essenziale: basi neuroscientifiche e applicazioni pratiche, seconda edizione italiana (4th original edition), Milano: Edi-Ermes, 2016 (2013 for the original edition). Chapters: 4-9.

Additional readings:

Palomba, D., Stegagno, L., Psicofisiologia clinica. Roma: Carrocci editore, 2015. Chapters: 1, 2, 4.

Recommended reading (optional and supplementary): 

 Panksepp, J., Biven, L., Archeologia della mente. Milano: Raffaello Cortina Editore, 2014.

Van Der KolK, B., Il corpo accusa il colpo. Milano: Raffaello Cortina Editore, 2015.

Teaching methods

Class lectures based on the book's chapters included in the program. Some specific lectures will be dedicated on special key topics in Clinical Psychophysiology.

Lectures with clinical cases exemplifications.

The attendance is not mandatory, but strongly reccomended for coping with the goals and the objectives of the course.

Assessment methods

The final evaluation will consist in a written exam with an open ended question

The final evaluation will consist in a interview, with two open ended questions, aimed to assess the student's knowledge regarding the topics included in the textbook's parts dealing with the program. Maximum score of the examination will be gained responding clearly and concisely to the question given. When the answer is complete and simple at the same time, the score of 30 Cum Laude will be suggested for the final evaluation. Incomplete answers, as well as answers with poor precision, will be evaluated with a proportionally lower score.

This test will always be concomitant with the one of Clinical Psychophysiology II. The final score is one and will be obtained averaging scores from the three questions included in the whole examination session: 2 questions from the present specific part of the course, 2 question from Clinical Psychophysiology I part of the course.

During the examination auxiliary material is forbidden (with the exclusion of specific and subjective cases), as well as is forbidden using notes and any kind of book.

During the pandemic emergency situation due to Covid-19, in order to follow the laws temporarily and eventually active to contain the spreading of the virus, the examination will be carried out by web or, if possible, in a mixed form in which students may choose whether sustain the examination personally or via web. The characteristics of the exam and the evaluation rules are exactly the same as those already defined.

To sustain the examination is mandatory for the candidate to subscribe online (AlmaEsami), the subscription is in common with Clinical Psychophysiology II.

In the case of technical problems the student is required to promptly contact the Segreteria Studenti and to send an email, within the terms, (eliana.tossani2@unibo.it).

Erasmus or exchange students must contact the professor before the beginning of the course.

Teaching tools

Frontal lessons (PowerPoint presentation), group discussions, case studies, patient care simulations and role plays.

Insegnamenti online - Supporto online alla didattica is the platform for teaching material (https://iol.unibo.it)

Office hours

See the website of Eliana Tossani