Learning objectives

The Second-Cycle Degree Course in Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience aims to perfect the knowledge and use of the theoretical and methodological tools necessary for analysis, research and intervention in the fields of psychobiology, general and physiological psychology, neuroscience, developmental psychology and neuropsychology. The course is therefore aimed at developing multidisciplinary professional skills in the sciences that study individual mental processes and their biological basis in the different phases of the life cycle (from childhood to adulthood and old age). It aims to train graduates with a solid background at the intersection of psychobiology, general and experimental psychology, developmental psychology, physiology, neurology and behavioural biology, both in basic research and its applications. In particular, the course aims to train people capable of working in public and private health and welfare facilities, cooperating with health workers, families and communities, and in psychotherapy, clinical, developmental and educational psychology, work and organisational psychology and human resource management. In addition, the knowledge acquired will make it possible to carry out neuropsychological rehabilitation, design, management and evaluation of interventions in social and health care contexts, and R&D activities in sectors of the world of work where mental processes are an important factor for design and innovation (e.g. marketing, cultural heritage, cognitive ergonomics).

A qualifying objective from this point of view is the promotion of the scientific and methodological skills necessary for the adoption of an evidence-based approach in the evaluation, planning and autonomous conduct of social and care interventions and activities. These training objectives will be achieved by means of advanced common training in characterising disciplines of psychology (M-PSI/01, M-PSI/02, M-PSI/03, M-PSI/04, M-PSI/07) and in related and supplementary disciplines of the medical-biological area (BIO/05, BIO/09, BIO/13, MED/25, MED/26) to be acquired within the first year of the course, and specific training, to be acquired for the most part during the second year of the course. Specific training will cover two main areas:

1. the psychobiology of health, in which conceptual and methodological tools will be offered to:

-understand and link the fundamentals of psychological, cognitive, biological and physiological sciences to the problems of psycho-physical well-being, health and illness; -collaborate with specialists (clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors of various specialities) to promote the psychological aspects of prevention, care and rehabilitation of children and adults with illness and/or disability.

2. Neuroscience, in which conceptual and methodological tools will be offered to:

- investigate the anatomo-functional characteristics of cognitive functions through cognitive models, neuro-functional and electrophysiological investigation methods and psychometric instruments; - train researchers with expertise in the design and conduct of experimental research in psychobiology and cognitive neuroscience.

A further qualifying objective of the course is the promotion of English language proficiency as regards all four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking), which will be pursued both by means of traditional classes and by attending seminars in the original language. Finally, the development of computer skills appropriate to the performance of professional activities will be promoted, in terms of written and oral communication, document and information sharing, and the use of software for data analysis.

The training course is structured to gradually accompany the student in the direction of the profession. It then starts mainly with course units that provide methodological tools (e.g. Data Analysis Techniques) and fundamentals (e.g. Neurophysiology of Mental Processes), continuing, in the second year, with course units of a more specialised (e.g. Perception and Psychophysics) or applied nature (e.g. Mirror Systems): Applications). In the second year, learning is further verified in the field during the pre-graduate internship. The next step consists of research activities in preparation for the  thesis, research that can be carried out in various locations and also in the laboratories of the Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience degree course. Finally, the last step in the training process is the postgraduate internship, which is conceived as observation and learning of professional skills.