First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSP5070525, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
PS1087, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination GENES, MIND AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
Department of reference Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied 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 can be chosen as Optional Course unit


ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines M-PSI/05 Social Psychology 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

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

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
5 2019/20 01/10/2019 30/11/2020 CAMPERIO CIANI ANDREA-SIGFRIDO (Presidente)
DADDA MARCO (Membro Effettivo)
SARTORI GIUSEPPE (Membro Effettivo)
4 2018/19 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 CAMPERIO CIANI ANDREA-SIGFRIDO (Presidente)
DADDA MARCO (Membro Effettivo)
SARTORI GIUSEPPE (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Basic notion of Genetics and Biology, however all basic concepts will be discussed in the first lessons.
Target skills and knowledge: Our goal is to acquire a critical perspective of the relative role of genes and environment, influencing social behavior. The social behaviors that we will explore are both normative such as cognitive behavior, personality, IQ, temperament, sexual orientation etc, and deviant behavior such as aggressiveness, sexual crimes, pedophilia. We will further explore the genetics and envirnmental influence of the most relevant Psychopatologies such as mood disorders, schizophrenia obsessive compulusive pathologies etc.
Examination methods: We offer two different modes of evaluation the first only for students attending all lessons that will be a presentation in Power point on a subject agreed with the student, and a subsequent paper relative to the presentation. The other mode will be a written exam followed by an oral one during the conventional exam session (the first modality depends of course on the number of attending students).
Assessment criteria: Students will be evaluated on the first modality based on clarity completedness of the topic assigned and on the quality of the paper presented, and also on the participation as discussant to the presentation given by the other students.

Relatively to the second modality the students will be asked a series of questions deserving a written answer within 45 minuts, and an oral examination relative to the answer provided
Course unit contents: Introduction to genetic basic concepts
an interdisciplinary approach between biology genetics epigenetics behavioral sciences statistics and psychology.
Facing the "nature vs nurture" debate and discussing criticisms the reductionist paradigm in behavioral sciences.

1) what is behavioral genetics, with examples on animal models: artificial selection and exploring techniques in human behavioral genetics:
twin studies
family studies and pedigree analysis
Gene mapping
other methods: Knok out, QLT molecular methods
how to identify genes influencing behavior
the effect of genes and environment in the development of behavior

2)The genetic and environmental contribution to human social behavior, quantitative analysis:
Cognitive abilities and disabilities
sexual orientation
aggressive behavior
3) aspects of evolutionary psychopathology
the role of genes and environment in the study of:
mood disorders
personality disorders
deviant social behavior
obsessive compulsive disorders etc.

Genetic hypothesis and adaptive value in forensic relevant behavior:
sexual crimes
and other cases to be expolred from time to time.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: the approach will be to promote critical thinking with class discussion relative to the different position of the researchers involved in behavioral genetics.

THIS COURSE EXPLORES TOPICS SUCH AS INFANTICIDE, RAPE, PROSTITUTION, PEDOPHILIA AND OTHER FORENSIC ASPECTS THAT COULD BE SENSITIVE TO INDIVIDUAL MORAL OR ETHICAL BELIEVES. The evolutionary approach explores why certain behaviors have evolved and/or are maintained in the human population and does not discuss the cultural, moral or ethical appropriateness. Moral aspects are extremely important aspects that are focused in other courses not in this one.
This course tests adaptive hypothesis that you may feel threatening to your personal perspective. This can be seen as an intellectual stimulus to students but also as a personal intimate threat to others. If you chose to enroll in this course you must abide by this code, and you are invited to express your critical thinking and engage supportively, positively, and respectfully in the classroom. If you are upset in any way, speak privately with me to discuss practical steps to help you.
Additional notes about suggested reading: the suggested text book:
Plomin DeFries McClean McGuffin
Behavioral genetics
fifth edition
Worth pub. New York 2008
will be supplemented with papers and documents supplied during the course.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • suggested: Plomin DeFries McClean McGuffin, Behavioral genetics. New York: Worth pub., 2008. fifth edition Cerca nel catalogo