First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSN1032225, 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 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination PSYCHOLOGY OF AGING
Department of reference Department of General Psychology
E-Learning website
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 ERIKA BORELLA M-PSI/01

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses M-PSI/01 General Psychology 9.0

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

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 9.0 63 162.0 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
7 2019 01/10/2019 30/09/2020 BORELLA ERIKA (Presidente)
CARRETTI BARBARA (Membro Effettivo)
DE BENI ROSSANA (Membro Effettivo)
MENEGHETTI CHIARA (Membro Effettivo)
VERZARI VALENTINA (Membro Effettivo)
6 2018-2 15/05/2019 21/02/2020 MUFFATO VERONICA (Presidente)
BORELLA ERIKA (Membro Effettivo)
TOFFALINI ENRICO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Basic elements/concepts of cognitive psychology (i.e., memory, attention and intelligence), and psychology research methodology are required.

Before starting (or during) the course, students could use any manual of general psychology (e.g. Nolen-Hoeksema S., Fredrickson B.L., Lotus G., Lutz C., Atkinson & Hilgard's Introduzione alla Psicologia. Padova: Piccin, 2017. In particular the chapters on memory, learning and conditioning and intelligence) to revise or further their knowledge on the topics that will be covered during the lectures (though the accent will be on age-related changes).

The lectures and the topics they cover will be designed, however, to facilitate students in their comprehension and learning. Aspects (concepts) that might be difficult for some students to grasp will be reiterated and revised during the lectures by means of interactive discussions.
The course could be attended by students coming from various Master courses.

A good command of written English.
Target skills and knowledge: The course will give students expertise on:
- age-related changes from a multidimensional viewpoint, also from a life-span perspective;
- theories, models, methodologies and practical knowledge (i.e. assessment tools, evidence-based interventions, …) of normal and pathological aging;
- strategies and models, including training tools, for the promotion of active aging;
- the psychosocial approach centered on the individual who is getting older;
- services for the elderly;
- crucial aspects of aging, e.g. retirement, illness and pain management, bereavement, and fear of death, for individuals who are aging or their relatives, and for professionals caring for the elderly (caregivers).

Attending the course will concern the abilities to promote: i) active aging in the normal aging domain; and ii) a good quality of life in pathological aging (and in caregivers).
Students will also acquire skills that will help them to take older adults (and their families) into care, from assessment to intervention, giving priority to an approach centered on the care of the individual.
Abilities relating to recently-emerging issues and themes in the psychology of aging (based on the presentation of published articles) will also be stimulated.
Examination methods: Written examination with 5 open questions (scoring 6 points for each question) to answer in 1 hour.
The final score is the sum of the scores awarded for each question.

For attending students the final mark will be scored also considering some aspects presented during lectures, such as assessments of oral or written presentations on original articles chosen together with the teacher. These activities will sostitute one of the question at the exam (therefore students will have 4 questions to answer instead of 5).

Foreign (international) students will have the opportunity to take the examination in English. Those interested in doing so must contact the teacher by email three weeks (at least) before the examination.
Assessment criteria: - the main theories and the latest approaches to explaining age-related changes from the social, physical, cognitive and emotional standpoints;
- how the psychology of aging can be studied (from a methodological point of view);
- older people’s strengths and weaknesses;
- procedures for sustaining healthy aging and attenuating age-related decline (in pathological aging too);
- the role of the environment in normal and pathological aging (i.e. caregiving and services for older adults);
- how to deal with stressful life events typically experienced by older people such as pain and bereavement, and fear of death.

The acquisition of the above-mentioned knowledge is assessed on students’ answers in the following terms:
- completeness of their content, with reference to the principal theories and more representative studies;
- analytical and logical organization;
- inclusion of elements that suggest a critical reflection and analysis;
- use of appropriate terminology.
Course unit contents: The following topics will be covered:
- demographic changes and the “gray revolution”;
- ageism and stereotypes relating to aging;
- age-related changes in: i) the brain; ii) the cognitive system, including memory, intelligence, spatial abilities; iii) the so-called basic cognitive mechanisms (working memory, cognitive inhibition and processing speed); and iv) emotions, motivation and personality;
- successful, active aging and the well-being paradox;
- multidimensional assessment in advanced age;
- services for the elderly;
- the environment, and older people’s attachment to their environment;
- cognitive training for normal aging and psychosocial treatments for pathological aging;
- psychopathology (i.e. Alzheimer’s disease) in a person-centered care approach;
- caregivers and the person-centered approach to care;
- pain and fear of death in aging.

The new professional figure of the gero-psychologist (expert in the psychology of aging) and new national and international guidelines for psychological practice with older adults will also be discussed.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Teaching will consist of face-to-face lectures.
Experts in the field will also be invited to allow students to come into contact with different occupational realities.
Lectures will be integrated with opportunities to: i) participate in experimental procedures; ii) visit rest homes for the elderly and Alzheimer units. These activities will enable students to start applying their skills to practical situations in the field.

Attending students have the possibility to present oral and/or written presentations of scientific articles. A simulation of the examination will also be conducted.

Students’ active intervention during lectures will be appreciated and stimulated.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The slides of lecture content will be available on Moodle, together with other complementary material (indicated in the slides concerning the general presentation of the course.

For foreign students, chapters of books edited in English could be proposed, subject to the approval of the person responsible for the course.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • De Beni R. e Borella E. (a cura di), Manuale di Psicologia dell'Invecchiamento e della Longevità. --: Il Mulino, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Questioning
  • Active quizzes for Concept Verification Tests and class discussions

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

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education Reduced Inequalities