78193 - Affective and Cognitive Neurosciences

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 Quality education

Academic Year 2023/2024

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 should be able to critically read experimental and theoretical studies of cognitive and affective neuroscience, to evaluate their methods and results, and explain their significance.

Course contents

The course is designed to provide advanced knowledge of the neural basis and functional mechanisms of human behaviour, and affective and cognitive processes, and the alteration of these processes in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders, drawing on both theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions of current literature, and integrating different methodological approaches, including behavioural, neurophysiological, psychopharmacological, computational and neuroimaging.

The course involves 2 modules, whose specific contents are the following:

di Pellegrino's Module (5 credits, 40 hours):

  • Vision and visual selective attention;
  • Cognitive contro;
  • Perceptual decision-making;
  • Economic decision-making.

Avenanti's Module (5 credits, 40 hours):

  • Methods in Cognitive and affective;
  • Understanding others': mirror mechanisms and mentalizing.

The course will take place during the first cycle of lectures (from September to December 2023) at the Department of Psychology - Cesena Campus (address: piazza A. Moro, 90, Cesena). The course will start with the module of prof. di Pellegrino, followed by the module of prof. Avenanti.


Scientific papers and other course materials for this course will be made available at the course website. These readings are mandatory to pass the final exam.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures during which the topic of each module will be interactively discussed, group discussions of neuroscientific papers, works in small groups with class presentation, seminars presented by experts. Parts of the lectures will be held online.

Assessment methods

Written exam with 4 open-ended questions (2 questions for Module 1, 2 questions for Module 2) to complete in 80 minutes (approximately 20 minutes per question).

Each answer will be assigned a maximum score (30/30) if it is well written and logically articulated, and demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the topic, critical analysis and the ability to integrate different aspects of the literature. Based on the correctness and completeness of the answer, the score will be scaled from 30 to 0. The final mark is calculated as the average of the scores to the six questions.

During the exam students are not allowed to consult any materials, such as textbooks, notes, electronic devices.

The student is required to complete the online registration (Almaesami) within the terms in order to be admitted to the exam. In the case of technical problems the student is required to promptly contact the Segreteria Studenti and email prof. Avenanti (within the terms) who will consider the request and decide about the admission.

Teaching tools

Slides (PowerPoint) and video clips. Software Teams

Office hours

See the website of Alessio Avenanti

See the website of Giuseppe Di Pellegrino