Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


A.Y. Credits
2019/2020 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Andrea Minelli Monday from 2 to 4 PM, on appointment
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Clinical Psychology (LM-51)
Curriculum: COMUNE
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The principal aim of the course is the acquisition of the theoretical and applicative principles of neurophysiology. The primary goal is to transmit to students the basic language and fundamental knowledge necessary to analyze and comprehend the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the major cognitive, emotional and behavioral functions in animals and men.


The course will deal with the following subjects, presented in the temporal order as indicated below:

  • Sensory systems: the visual system and visual perception (lesson 1 - 3).
  • The motor system: anatomo-functional organization of motor system; movement control and planning; sensory-motor coordination; role of basal ganglia and cerebellum in motor control and cognitive behavior (lesson 4 - 6).
  • The neurophysiological bases of attention. The effects of attention on sensory functions. The control of attention (lesson 7 and 8).
  • The neurophysiological bases of mnestic processes. Long-term memory: episodic and semantic declarative (explicit) memory; non-declarative (implicit) memory. Short-term memory and working memory (lesson 9 - 11).
  • Neurophysiology of emotions. Influences of emotions on sensory and cognitive functions. Control of emotions (lesson 12 - 14).
  • Social cognition and social behavior (lesson 15 and 16).
  • Decisional processes (lesson 17 and 18).

Bridging Courses

No bridging courses are reported

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

In line with Dublin Descriptors, at the end of the course students will have to demonstrate the following learning achievements:

  • good knowledge and clear understanding of the basic neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the fundamental cognitive and behavioral functions;
  • the capacity of using knowledge and concepts to reason in an autonomous fashion on the various subjects presented during the course, being able to describe experimental studies and relative underlying working hypotheses, and to describe the experimental findings and their interpretation.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

Integrative lessons and seminars

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Frontal lessons


Attendance is not obligatory

Course books

Purves, Cabeza, Huettel, LaBar, Platt, Woldorff. “Principles of Cognitive neuroscience”. Synauer Associate. Inc., second edition 2013


Written exam (brief essays), consisting in two open-ended questions (free choice between three). The exam lasts two hours. Here follows a complete list of the questions (matching the chapters of the adopted textbook):

  • Detection of visual stimuli and anatomical and functional organization of visual pathways
  • Anatomical and functional organization of cortical areas involved in visual processing. Building a visual percept: brightness, contrast, color, shape, depth, movement, object recognition
  • Motor and premotor cortical areas: their anatomy and physiological role in the organization of voluntary movement
  • Basal ganglia and cerebellum: their anatomy and physiological role in motor control and cognitive functions
  • Neural effects of attention on sensory processing: auditory and visual spatial attention
  • Neural effects of attention on the processing of non-spatial features of auditory and visual stimuli
  • Mechanisms of central control on attentional processes and deployment. Visual search
  • Declarative memory: definition and classification; brain regions involved in coding, consolidation, storing and retrieval of episodic and semantic memory
  • Emotions: definition and classification; biological theories of emotions. Neurophysiological approaches to emotions: anatomy and physiology of cortical and subcortical areas involved in emotional processing
  • Interactions between emotions and cognitive functions. Emotion regulation
  • Building the self: self-reflection and embodiment. Detection and processing of social stimuli from faces and bodies. Social categorization. Understanding other's actions and emotions
  • The neurophysiological basis of decision making: reward and utility; uncertainty and risk; the role of social context; euristics in decision making

When answering any of the questions listed above, the student will benefit from following a general conceptual scheme:

  • Introducing the issue: the student should provide accurate and clear definitions and description of the psychic processes in object;
  • Discuss the neurobiological correlates of psychic processes in object, reporting the most fundamental neurophysiological evidence (i.e. electrophysiology, neuroimaging, ecc) coming from animal and human studies;
  • Discuss neuropsychological and clinical findings when they help clarify the neurophysiological correlates of the psychic processes in object (i.e., brain lesions).

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Subjects and contents of the course are the same as for attending students. As for attending students, teaching material will be made available by the lecturer, together with other supporting activities, inside the Moodle platform.


Attendance is not obligatory

Course books

  Purves, Cabeza, Huettel, LaBar, Platt, Woldorff. “Principles of Cognitive neuroscience”. Synauer Associate. Inc., second edition 2013


Written exam (brief essays)

« back Last update: 18/12/19


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