First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSP5070177, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2015/16

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
PS2192, Degree course structure A.Y. 2015/16, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Department of reference Department of General Psychology
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge GIOVANNI ZANZOTTO MAT/07

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines MAT/07 Mathematical Physics 6.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period First semester
Year 3rd Year
Teaching method frontal

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 42 108.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Prerequisites: The mathematical knowledge necessary for the admission to the undergraduate course in Psychological Science is assumed.
Target skills and knowledge: The probability that a woman of age 40 has breast cancer is about 1 per cent. If she has breast cancer, the probability that she tests positive on a screening mammogram is 90 percent. If she does not have breast cancer, the probability that she nevertheless tests positive is 9 percent. What are the chances that a woman who tests positive actually has breast cancer? This class presents some basic techniques for the analysis of the uncertainty inherent in statistical information, with the goal of providing a correct evaluation and communication of risk. Basic notions of elementary probability theory are introduced and discussed, and their application is illustrated in problems connected with the medical and psychological practice.
Examination methods: Written final exam with open questions or quizzes. Oral presentations of selected topics during class.
Assessment criteria: Grading is based on the results of the final written test and on the performance in the oral presentations.
Course unit contents: Uncertainty in statistical information. Problems related to the evaluation of risk and communication of risk. Real-world xamples. Bayesian inferences through the use of probabilities and by means of 'natural frequencies'. Suitability of the latter for a more intuitive and direct insight in both risk estimation and in a transparent representation of risk. Examples focussing on the correct judgement of the probabilistic predictive value of medical diagnostic tests, and aiming at avoiding misleading risk information.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Class lectures, with presentation of the main points mentioned above. Some theory and several examples. Recitations and exercises to complement the theoretical parts, also directly involving students in both individual and group work. The main focus is on the applications of the topics treated during the coursework.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Textbook and possible extra materials available through the library or online.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • MAIN TEXTBOOK ---- Gerd Gigerenzer, Calculated Risk. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.
  • Auxiliary reading material ---- Gerd Gigerenzer et al., Helping Doctors and Patients Make Sense of Health Statistics. --: Association for Psychological Science, 2008.
  • Auxiliary reading material ---- Stephanie Kurzenh√§user, Natural frequencies in medical risk communication: improving statistical thinking in physicians and patients. Dissertation: FU Berlin, 2003.
  • Auxiliary reading material ---- M. R. Spiegel, Theory & Problems Of Probability & Statistics. New York: Schaum Mc Graw Hill, 1998.