First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSO2043831, 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
PS2381, 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
Department of reference Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation
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 LORELLA LOTTO M-PSI/01

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses M-PSI/01 General 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
3 2019 01/10/2019 30/09/2020 LOTTO LORELLA (Presidente)
GAVARUZZI TERESA (Membro Effettivo)
RUBALTELLI ENRICO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Student should be able to read and understand a peer-reviewed scientific article in English language.
Target skills and knowledge: The course provides essential notions about risk perception and communication and about decisional processes. At the end of the course, students should have understood and master the topics covered during the class. They should be able to critically analyze communications concerning risk and decision-making and to apply methods to improve them.
Examination methods: The assessment of learning will occur through the final exam, which ascertains the acquisition of the expected knowledge and abilities. Questions will deal with factors affecting risk perception and communication, and the theoretical models and the psychological mechanisms characterizing judgment and decision making process. The final exam will consist in a written test including 22 multiple-choice questions (with 4 possible answers) and 2 open questions. The written test will last 1 hour. No oral integration is contemplated.
Assessment criteria: Evaluation criteria for assessing the expected knowledge and competence are the following:
1) the completeness of the acquired knowledge;
2) a firm grasp of the concepts and examples covered in the readings;
3) the ability to use a scientific and specialized language pertaining to the specific subject area.

Each correct answer to the multiple-choice questions will receive 1 score. Each answer to the open questions will receive a score between 0 and 5. The final grade will be computed as the sum of the scores obtained in each question.
Course unit contents: The course will be divided into three parts.
The first part will deal with risk communication and with the widespread inability to understand the meaning of numbers. This inability (risk illiteracy) often leads to faulty decision making with severe consequences for the individuals involved.
The course will show how to develop and implement efficient and transparent representations of health statistics.

The subject of the second part is the nature of human judgment and decision making. By refusing the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways, the course will show how our mistakes are systematic and predictable.

The third part will deal the “nudge” approach: the idea is to shape incentives and present information in a way that increases the chances that people will exercise the best decisions for themselves and our society, without restricting freedom of choice.

Specifically, the following topics will be addressed:
1) Introduction to the concepts of risk and decision.
2) Risk perception.
3) Communicating risk: methods, difficulties, and solutions.
4) Heuristics and systematic errors in judgments.
5) Normative and descriptive theories of decision making.
6) Prospect Theory and framing effect.
7) “Nudge”: libertarian paternalism and choice architecture.
8) Examples and applications.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course topics will be addressed during frontal lectures. In-class discussions on the proposed theoretical models of psychological processes will be stimulated.
The course may include lectures on specific topics and/or taught by experts, as communicated to students during lectures.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The lecture slides will be available on the Moodle course platform.
The textbook "Nudge" by Thaler and Sunstein is available in English and the scientific article by Gigerenzer at al. is in English.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Gigerenzer G., Gaissmaier W., Kurz-Milcke E., Scwartz L.M., Woloshin S., Helping Doctors and Patients Make Sense of Health Statistics.. --: --, 2007. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 8 (2), 53-96. Solo: Introduction and Part I (pp. 53-58); Part IV (pp. 71-73); Part VI (pp. 82-90).
  • Kahneman D., Pensieri lenti e veloci. Milano: Mondadori, 2012. Parte I (tutti i capitoli), Parte II (tutti i capitoli ad esclusione dei capitoli XVI, XVII, XVIII), Parte IV (solo capitoli XXV, XXVI, XXX, XXXIII) Cerca nel catalogo
  • Thaler R.H., Sunstein C.R., Nudge: La spinta gentile: La nuova strategia per migliorare le nostre decisioni sul denaro, salute, felicità. Milano: Feltrinelli, 2009. Tutto il manuale ad esclusione dei capitoli 7-8-9-10. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Questioning
  • Problem solving
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

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

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