First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSP5070539, 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
PS1978, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination ANIMAL COGNITION
Department of reference Department of General Psychology
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge LUCIA REGOLIN M-PSI/02

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses M-PSI/02 Psychobiology and Physiological Psychology 9.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 9.0 63 162.0 No turn

Start of activities 26/02/2018
End of activities 01/06/2018

Examination board
Examination board not defined

Prerequisites: All post graduate students (students of Lauree Magistrali - Master Degrees) are welcome to attend this course.

Students should ideally already possess the basic notions of biology, psychobiology, and cognitive psychology as provided by a first degree in Psychology.

The notions provided by the first degree course unit "ANIMAL AND COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY" ("Psicologia Animale e Comparata") may also be useful, although they are not strictly needed to the understanding of the contents of this course.
Target skills and knowledge: Students shall become familiar with the topics discussed in the course, and with the most relevant experimental paradigms for the investigation in the field of comparative cognition. Students are also expected to become capable of critical reading and understanding of scientific papers, in particular those investigating experimentally and from a comparative perspective the basic cognitive processes.
Examination methods: Upon request, the exam can be taken by the student also in English language.

The final mark will be scored considering : students’ attendance at lectures; students active participation during the lectures (i.e, at discussions and at presentations of papers, which will be individually scored), and evaluation of home assignments (i.e., essay writing).

A written exam with open questions will be mandatory for students who fail to obtain a final mark by the end of the lectures due to lack of any of the information specified above.
Assessment criteria: Understanding of the main experimental paradigms employed for the investigation of comparative cognition, and of the most convincing experimental evidences in the recent literature in the field. Critical and analytical thinking are also evaluated, as well as the appropriate use of the terminology of the field of investigation.
Course unit contents: Comparative cognition is a discipline closely connected to behavioural biology, evolution and cognitive neuroscience. Its fundamental questions, such as “What makes us uniquely human?” and “What do our minds share with other creatures?” are truly fascinating.
The lectures will highlight some of the most recent and debated issues in the field of comparative cognition (such as social learning, mental time travel, metacognition, symbolic intelligence, tool use, etc.), from a perspective integrating research from laboratory and field, psychology and behavioural ecology/ethology. The results described in the recent literature as well as the methodologies employed for the investigation of such topics will be critically analysed.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Each topic will be first introduced by the lecturer, by discussing the general issues relevant to that topic and the most interesting and recent experimental evidences reported in the literature. Thereafter students will be required to actively take part in the course by preparing written and oral presentations on selected papers concerning that same topic.
Additional notes about suggested reading: For students not attending the lectures the following reading is reccommended:

Animal Cognition Evolution, Behavior and Cognition (2nd edition)
Clive D.L. Wynne, Monique A. R. Udell
2013 Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN 9780230294233

The following reading is reccommended to help students who have attended all lectures to prepare for the final exam.
Fundamentals of Comparative Cognition, Sara J. Shettleworth, Oxford University Press.
(First Edition): March 15, 2012
ISBN-10: 0195343107 | ISBN-13: 978-0195343106
This is a concise reading that conveys the richness and excitement of comparative cognition.

Further readings mostly in the form of scientific papers will be provided to the students during the course. A list of such papers will be made available to the students and the papers themselves will be uploaded in the course directory.

For students not attending the classes email information will be forwarded by the teacher upon request
(please write to:
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Valeria A. Sovrano, Paolo Zucca, Lucia Regolin, Il comportamento degli animali. Evoluzione, cognizione e benessere.. --: Carocci, Manuali universitari, 2009. Testo in lingua italiana di riferimento per il corso Cerca nel catalogo
  • Clive D.L. Wynne, Monique A. R. Udell, Animal Cognition Evolution, Behavior and Cognition (2nd edition). --: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. ISBN = 9780230294233. Testo in lingua inglese consigliato come alternativa più aggiornata del testo in lingua italiana. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Sara J. Shettleworth, Fundamentals of Comparative Cognition (First Edition). --: Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN-10: 0195343107 | ISBN-13: 978-0195343106. Testo conciso, in lingua inglese, utile supporto per l'esame degli studenti frequentanti. Cerca nel catalogo