First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSO2044172, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
PS1932, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination DEVELOPMENTAL AND AGING BRAIN
Department of reference Department of General Psychology
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English

Teacher in charge CLARA CASCO M-PSI/01

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses M-PSI/01 General Psychology 6.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period First semester
Year 1st 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 09/10/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Prerequisites: none in particular
Target skills and knowledge: 1. Learn functional consequences of central sensory system pathology.
2. Utilize the principles of perceptual learning and neural plasticity in their approach to treatment.
3. Learn the relationship between assessment and treatment in clinical reasoning.
4. Learn to appreciate the importance of appropriate outcome measures to support evidence based practice.
Examination methods: The exam comprise: written open questions and practical work
Assessment criteria: the evaluation aims at testing comparatively whether the student has acquired theory and methods
Course unit contents: The course consists of an introductory part in which I will address some basic concepts of plasticity in the developing brain. In particular, I will focus on the phenomenon of “rise and fall” of postnatal brain development, i.e. dendritic arborisation , axons growth, synapses growth , and on the basic aspects of plasticity in the adolescent and aging brain.
In the second part of the course I will develop further some fundamental concepts of neural plasticity, namely, mechanisms of neural plasticity and cortical reorganization, activity dependent neural plasticity, experience expectant plasticity, experience dependent plasticity.
In the third part of the course I will focus on two methods to induce plasticity in the human brain: perceptual learning and transcranical current stimulation

In the fourth part of the course I will describe the anatomical and neurophysiological bases of plasticity in the dorsal and ventral pathway of visual and auditory system as well as the development and aging of Magnocellular and parvocellular functions. This introductory session will be used as a framework to describe the plasticity phenomena in the developing and aging sensory system. In particular, for the developing sensory system, I will describe the effect of missing visual experience on cortical development. For the aging sensory system I will develop in detail the majors issues of neuropathology and sensory decline, plasticity mechanisms to compensate sensory decline and reversal of cognitive decline by inducing positive plasticity in sensory system.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Each topic will be introduced by the lecturer, by discussing the general issues relevant to that topic. Recent empirical studies reported in the literature will be reported.

The course will be composed by frontal lectures with the usage of video-tutorials as well, group or individual laboratories, practical work and other activities related to the learning aims of the course.
Additional notes about suggested reading: A "selected reading" of relevant scientific papers will be provided
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Huttenlocher P.R.,, Neural Plasticity. The Effects of Environment on the Development of the Cerebral Cortex. Harward: Harward University Press., 2009. Cerca nel catalogo