First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSN1032217, 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
PS1091, 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 NEUROPSYCHOLOGY OF AGING
Department of reference Department of General Psychology
E-Learning website
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

Teacher in charge GIORGIA CONA M-PSI/02

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses M-PSI/02 Psychobiology and Physiological Psychology 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First 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 07/10/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
7 2019 01/10/2019 30/09/2020 CONA GIORGIA (Presidente)
BONATO MARIO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: The student should ideally possess notions of cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology. English knowledge is also recommended.

For students who may lack adequate prior knowledge, the following texts are suggested:
- Neuroscience: Exploring the brain. 3d ed. Bear, M.F., Connors, B.W., and Paradiso, M.A. (2007). Philadelphia: Lippincott.
- The Neuropsychology Handbook. Horton, A. M., & Wedding, D. (2008). Springer Publishing Company.
Target skills and knowledge: The course is meant to develop the following knowledges and skills:

1. Main neural changes associated with normal aging
2. Main cognitive changes associated with normal aging
3. Protective factors for the prevention of cognitive decline
4. Role of genes and environment in cognitive aging

1. Cognitive and physiopathological profiles of degenerative diseases (Alzheimer, Parkinson, Vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, fronto-temporal dementia)
2. Guidelines for the neuropsychological assessment
3. Main neuropsychological batteries/tasks

1. How to develop a clinical interview
2. How to administer neuropsychological tests
3. How to develop a protocol for the prevention of cognitive decline
4. How to design an experiment to study cognitive and/or neural aspects related to aging
Examination methods: The exam will be written and it will take place in rooms with specially-equipped computers.

It will last 1 hour and will be composed of two parts.
The first part comprises 30 multiple-choice questions (time limit: 30 minutes). The second part comprises 3 open questions (short responses, time limit: 30 minutes).

The students will be given the access to the second part only if they will provide at least 50 % of correct responses to the multiple-choice questions.
Assessment criteria: The student will have to acquire:
a) knowledge about:
- cognitive changes associated with healthy aging
- neural alterations in healthy aging
- main cognitive and psychological problems occurring with advanced age (e.g., anxiety, depression, insomnia)
- cognitive and neural alterations associated with pathological aging (e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease…)
- neuropsychological tools
- methods and interventions to prevent cognitive decline

b) skills on:
- how to develop a neuropsychological interview
- how to administer neuropsychological batteries
- how to develop protocols for the prevention of cognitive decline
Course unit contents: The course will be subdivided in three main parts:
The first part will focus on healthy aging and will deal with:
- principal theories and models
- changes in specific cognitive functions (e.g., memory, executive functions) and in the neural mechanisms associated with such functions
- problems occurring with advanced age (e.g., anxiety, depression, insomnia, changes in personality traits)
- cognitive reserve and prevention of cognitive decline
- role of physical activity and diet in preventing cognitive decline

The second part of the course will deal with different aspects of pathological aging, which are the characterization, assessment and intervention of diseases, such as:
- Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
- Dementias (e.g., Alzheimer, Parkinson, fronto-temporal)
- Cognitive impairment associated with cerebrovascular pathologies

The third part will involve the study and practice of the most commonly used neuropsychological tools and of the guidelines designed for the evaluation, differential diagnosis and the management of the diseases associated with aging.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course will comprise frontal lessons, and student-centered instruction, participatory learning, and hands-on learning. Practical exercitations will concern:
- administration of the neuropsychological tools
- presentation and discussion of scientific papers chosen by students
- discussion on clinical cases
Additional notes about suggested reading: Course material will be available in the Moodle course website or at the Psychology Library.
Study material for both attendant and nonattendant students:

In addition to the books, the lecture slides and selected scientific papers are mandatory study material for both attending and not attending students (available in the Moodle course website).
Scientific papers:
1. Hedden T, Gabrieli JDE. Insights into the ageing mind: a view from cognitive neuroscience. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004;5(2):87-96. doi:10.1038/nrn1323.
2. Park DC, Reuter-Lorenz P. The Adaptive Brain: Aging and Neurocognitive Scaffolding. Annu Rev Psychol. 2009;60(1):173-196. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.59.103006.093656.
3. Corbetta M, Ramsey L, Callejas A, et al. Common behavioral clusters and subcortical anatomy in stroke. Neuron. 2015;85(5):927-941. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.02.027.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Katzen, Heather L.; Ravdin, Lisa D., Handbook on the neuropsychology of aging and dementia. New York: Springer, 2013. Chapters 1, 2, 5-8, 12, 16-22, 29. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Schaie, K. Warner; Willis, Sherry L.; Knight, Bob G.; Levy, Becca; Park, Denise C., Handbook of the psychology of aging. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2011. Chapters: 1, 5, 7-13, 15. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Dennis, N. A., & Cabeza, R., Neuroimaging of healthy cognitive aging. --: --, 2008. Book chapter in F. I. M. Craik & T. A. Salthouse (Eds.), Handbook of aging and cognition (pp. 1-54). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Questioning
  • Use of online videos

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

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