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


A.Y. Credits
2021/2022 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Riccardo Cuppini fryday 11,30-13,00
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

Physical Education for Health and Prevention (LM-67)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The aim of course is learning of notions and of concepts for representation of motor control at its different levels (reflexes, locomotion, equilibrium and posture, voluntary movement), of perceptive functions (esteroceptive and proprioceptive somatic perception, vestibular perception, vision, hearing) and of the cognitive and emotional aspects relevant for motor control. 


1. Anatomical and functional organization of the central nervous system.

2. Neurobiology.

2.1. Cytology of neuron. 2.2. Electrophysiology. 2.2.1. Resting membrane potential. 2.2.2. Local potentials. 2.2.3. Action potential. 2.3. Synapses. 2.3.1. Electric synapses. 2.3.2. Chemical synapses: presynaptic mechanism. 2.3.3. Post-synaptic mechanism. 2.3.4. Ionotropic postsynaptic receptors. 2.3.5. Metabotropic postsynaptic receptors. 2.3.6. Principal neurotransmitters. 2.4. Glia. 2.4.1. Kinds of glial cells. Functions of glial cells. 2.5. Neuron integrative function. 2.5.1. Spatial and temporal summation. 2.5.2. Location of synapse in the neuron. 2.5.3. Axon emergence cone. 2.6. Synapse plasticity.  2.6.1. Long term potentiation and long term depression.

3. Perception.

3.1 General principles. 3.1.1 General organization of perception. 3.1.2. The question of veracy and of completeness of perception. 3.1.3. Reception and perception. 3.1.4. General concept of receptive field. 3.2. Receptors. 3.2.1. Classifications based on structure, on kind of stimulus energy, on stimulus source (priprio-, entero-, estero-receptors, 3.2.2. Reception and transduction., 3.2.3. Stimulus properties encoded at the periphery: kind, intensity, spatial and temporal features. 3.3. Vision. 3.3.1. Eye structure. 3.3.2. Dioptric structures. 3.3.3. Elements of geometric optics and formation of retina image. 3.3.4. Retina: cellular structure, fovea. 3.3.5. Photoreceptors: cones and rods. 3.3.6. Phototransduction. 3.3.7. Retinal processing: receptive fields of ganglion cells on-center and off-center. 3.3.8. Color coding. 3.3.9. Optic pathway. 3.3.10. Organization of lateral geniculate body. 3.3.11. Primary visual cortex. 3.3.12. Dorsal and ventral pathway. 3.4. Hearing. 3.4.1. External and middle ear. 3.4.2. Cochlea. 3.4.3. Organ of Corti: reception and transduction of acoustic stimulus. 3.4.4. Frequency coding. 3.4.5. Acoustic pathway. 3.4.6. Functional organization of auditive cortex. . 3.5. Somatic perception. 3.5.1. Touch. 3.5.2. Proprioception. Muscular proprioceptors: neuromuscular spindle and organ of Golgi. Articular proprioceptors. Proprioception pathway. Cortical processing. 3.5.3. Pain. Pain repectors. Pain pathways and their functional meaning. Control of pain perception. Thermal perception. 3.6. Vestibular perception. 3.6.1. Vestibular apparatus. 3.6.2. Amullar and otolytic organs. 3.6.3. Transduction. 3.6.4. Vestibular pathway.

4. Motor control

4.1. Principles of functional organization: hierarchic organization of motor control. 4.2. Innervation of skeletal muscle. 4.2.1. Alpha motor neuron. 4.2.2. Concept of motor unit. 4.2.3. Recruitment of motor units and the force control at spinal level. 4.3. Reflexes. 4.3.1. Definition. 4.3.2. Myotatic reflex and its role in statics and in dynamics. 4.3.3. Polysynaptic and polysegmental reflexes. 4.3.4. The role of spinal interneurons. 4.3.5. Reflex inhibition. 4.4. Central generators of motor patterns. 4.4.1. Structure and function of central pattern generators. 4.4.2. Descending control and reflex control of central pattern generators. 4.5. Equilibrium and posture. 4.5.1. Vestibular reflexes. 4.5.3. Function of vestibulocerebellum. 4.6. Voluntary mouvement.  4.6.1. Definition. 4.6.2. Motor cortical areas. Primary motor area. Premotor area. Supplementary motor area. 4.6.3. Basal ganglia. Anatomy. Direct, indirect, hyperdirect circuits and their functional role. 4.6.4. Cerebellum. Architecture of cerebellar cortex. Cerebellar nuclei. The functional regions of cerebellum. Spinocerebellum. Cerebrocerebellum.

5. Cognitive functions.

5.1. Prefrontal cortex. 5.1.1. Functional partitions of prefrontal cortex. 5.1.2. Role of prefrontal cortex in motor control. 5.1.3. Its role in social behaviors. 5.2. Sleep. 5.2.1. Definition and functions. 5.2.2. Structure of sleep. 5.2.3. Organization of circadian rythms. 5.3. Learning and memory. 5.3.1. Definitions. 5.3.2. Taxonomy of memory. 5.3.3. Explicit memory. 5.3.4. Role of cerebellum in motor learning. 5.3.5. Role of substantia nigra in reinforcement of motor behaviors. 5.3.6. Supplementary and presupplementary motor areas in learned motor patterns. 5.3.7. Role of sleep in in motor learning.

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

Materials provided on moodle platform.

Teaching, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment




Knowledge of neuroanatomy and of cellular neurobiology are required.

Course books

E.R. Kandel, J.H. Schwartz, T.M. Jessell, S.A. Siegelbaum, A.J. Hudspeth, Principles of neurosciences.



Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Availability of the teacher for individual or group meetings. Moodle platform.


Knowledge of neuroanatomy and of cellular neurobiology are required.

Course books

E.R. Kandel, J.H. Schwartz, T.M. Jessell, S.A. Siegelbaum, A.J. Hudspeth, Principles of neurosciences.



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