First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Psychology
Course unit
PSP8083141, 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
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 MARIO LIOTTI M-PSI/01

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses M-PSI/01 General 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
2 2019 01/10/2019 30/09/2020 LIOTTI MARIO (Presidente)
LENZI MICHELA (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Prerequisites are: a ) A knowledge of the basic constructs of General Psychology (Perception, Attention, Memory) and b) Good comprehension of written English.
Familiarity with Nervous System anatomy and physiology is desirable but not a requirement.
Target skills and knowledge: Participation to this course will allow the student to:
1) Acquire a basic knowledge of the theories, research problems, and specific content of psychology and neurobiology of Positive Emotions;
2) Gather a general understanding of the cognitive, neurophysiological.cultural, intrapsychic and relational aspects of positive emotions;
3) Incentivate critical thinking and appreciation of the role of empirical research in Psychology and the Neurosciences;
4) Improve the abilty to communicate (writing, listening, and discussing in the classroom and in small groups).
Examination methods: The evaluation consists of a final exam.
The Final exam consists in a written exam with 6 open-end questions (two pages mximum) of the duration of 90 minutes.
The final exam will cover the entire program.

The Final is based on materials from the lectures (powerpoint and notes) and the textbook/or didactic readings provided.
Foreign students have the opportunity to take the exams in English, upon request.
Assessment criteria: The exam has the objective to evaluate the student's knowledge and mastering of all the contents covered during the course.
Course unit contents: This course explores the psychological and functional foundations of Positive Emotions. The course included five modules. The first section will deal with general aspects of Positive Emotions, and will review the innatist-evolutionist approach and the cultural approach. After that it will deal with the various components or phases in the process of positive emotion generation, Cognitive Appraisal, emotion Communication thorugh facial expressions, tone of voiceand body posture, bodily changes mediated by the autonomous nervous system and hormons.
The second module is devoted to Affective Neuroscience and will review physiological mechanisms and brain structures responsible for the generation and control of positive emotions in animals and man, and the most relevant studies employing neuropsychological methods and neuroimaging techniques.
The third module will cover in detail specific positive emotions, in particular: Love, Happiness and Laughter, Pride, Contentment, Awe.
The fourth module will deal with how positive emotions influence social relationships, how they vary with regard to individual and personality differences, and how positive Emotions and Affects influence cognitive processes and economic decision making.
The fifth module will illustrate how positive emotions and their regulation vary during the lifespan, particularly during development and aging.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Frontal theoretical lectures.
Quizzes in the classroom every week based on the content of the previous lecture.
Tutorials in preparation for the final exam.
Additional notes about suggested reading: CStudy materials for the exams:
- Slides, in italian (or English), available online through the Moodle platform
- The Textbooks, in English.
Possible other readings in English (in particolar scientific articles) will be pinpointed in class.

Keltner, Oatley, Jenkins: “Understanding Emotions” 3rd Edition (2014) Wiley.
Shiota & Kalat: “Emotions”, 3rd Ed (2018). Oxford University Press.
Copies of such books to be found at the Psychology Library (press center).
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Active quizzes for Concept Verification Tests and class discussions
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

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