cod. 1008688

Academic year 2021/22
1° year of course - First semester
Vittorio GALLESE
Academic discipline
Psicobiologia e psicologia fisiologica (M-PSI/02)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
56 hours
of face-to-face activities
8 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

1. Knowledge and ability to understand. Students must achieve a good knowledge of the most recent theories of aesthetic experience and of the underpinning neural mechanisms.
2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding. Students must be able to use the acquired theoretical knowledge.
3. Autonomy of judgment. Students will have to develop critical and reflective skills on methodological problems and on the relationships between specific theoretical positions and recent empirical results.
4. Communication skills. Students should acquire the ability to critically discuss aesthetic experience and its neurobiological correlates.
5. Learning skills. Students should be able to learn the most recent theoretical approaches and the main survey techniques related to the course topic.

All students will need to acquire updated knowledge about the cognitive processes
of human aesthetic experience and the methods used for studying it.
The course will provide conceptual and methodological tools for:
- deepen the anatomical and functional characteristics of the functions
cognitive of aesthetic experience through cognitive models, methods
of neurofunctional and electrophysiological investigations and psychometric tools.
In particular, the course will allow students to acquire knowledge
updated and critical:
- basic features of neuroscience applied to images and language;
- the main models of experimental aesthetics.
Students must be able to apply the acquired knowledge to concrete problems of research on the cerebral bases of aesthetic experience. Moreover, they will have to be able to apply the learned methods to the analysis of the various cognitive, neurobiological and behavioral aspects characterizing the aesthetic responses to art.


Notions of the sociology of cultural processes and communication, the psychology of communication, theories of language and mind, contemporary art, cinema and literature.

Course unit content

The course will address a new model of perception, embodied simulation, applied to the study of the aesthetic experience of art, cinema and literature.

Full programme

Cognitive neuroscience: approaches, methods and limits. Basic organization of the visual system. Action-Perception-Cognition. Aesthetic experience: a mediated form of intersubjectivity. The main theoretical models of intersubjectivity (Theory of Mind; Theory-Theory; Simulation Theory; Empathy). The mirror system. Mirror mechanisms in emotions and sensations. Empathy and aesthetics. Neuroaesthetics in its different forms and approaches. The model of Embodied Simulation and its bearing on aesthetics in relation to visual arts, cinema and literature.


Slides available online at the end of the course.
Gallese e Guerra - Lo Schermo Empatico. Raffaello Cortina Editore, 2015, Chapter 1.
Gallese V. (2011) Embodied Simulation Theory: Imagination and Narrative. (
Wojciehowski H. and Gallese V. (2011) How Stories make us feel. Toward an Embodied narratology. (
Cometa M. Letteratura e Arti Visive. (
Gallese V. e Guerra M. (2013) Forme di simulazione e sti(mo)li cinematografici. (
Gallese V. e Guerra M. (2013) Film, corpo, cervello: prospettive naturalistiche per la teoria del film. (
Gallese V. (2013) Corpo non mente. Le neuroscienze cognitive e la genesi di soggettività ed intersoggettività. (
Gallese V. e Guerra M. (2014) Corpo a corpo. Simulazione incarnata e naturalizzazione dell’esperienza filmica. ('esperienza_filmica).
Gallese V. (2014) Arte, Corpo, Cervello. Per un'Estetica Sperimentale. ('Estetica_Sperimentale_Micromega_22014_49-67).
Cuccio V. e Gallese V. (2015) Tra neuroni ed esperienza.Simulazione incarnata, linguaggio e natura umana. (
Gallese V. e Ardizzi M. (2017) Il senso del colore. Tra mondo, corpo e cervello. (
Gallese V. (2017) Visions of the Body: Embodied Simulation and Aesthetic Experience. (Visions of the Body: Embodied Simulation and Aesthetic Experience).

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures with audio-visual material.

Assessment methods and criteria

Written examination , consisting of three open questions. The final score will be computed by attributing a maximum score of 10 to each of the 3 questions, for a maximum final score of 30/30.
The evaluation of answers is based on the following criteria:
1) Content skills or how detailed the candidate addresses the topic;
2) Exposing skills, i.e., how precise is the language used by the candidate to expose the concepts;
3) Argumentative skills, that is, how consistent and logical is the concatenation of the concepts presented.

Other information

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