9 credits during the 1st year of 8455 Philosophy (L-5) GENOVA
GENOVA (Philosophy)
2° Semester
Teaching materials



The course is firstly aimed at characterizing the scientific psychology with respect to commonsense psychology, from historical, epistemological, and methodological points of view. In particular the student should be able to recognize the relevance of the main schools at the origin of modern psychology, should know and be able to critically analyze the main thematic areas of investigation, their foundations, research methods and the main application fields of psychology. The student must also be able to define the main concepts of the psychic processes, know the main and more established  theories, their empirical basis, and how to operate a minimum critical comparison about the most discussed theories.


At the end of the course students will be able to:

· know how to identify what characterizes scientific psychology with respect to commonsense psychology

· place in historical framework the different psychological schools and describe the contribution of the most important authors

· know how to make a critical comparison between the different schools or psychological currents and recognize which aspects are outdated and which are still current

· know what are the main areas of investigation and the main fields of application of current psychology

· know the definitions and the main concepts concerning the psychic processes

· knowing how to critically compare the different theories concerning psychic processes

· know how to describe the research methods used in the study of psychic processes

· to identify the main epistemological problems underlying specific psychological theories


This is an introductory course, so there are no particular requirements.

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars.


Program for students who follow the course for 6 credits

Historical foundations of psychology. Folk psychology and scientific psychology. Theoretical and applied psychology. Wundt and structuralism. Functionalism. Gestalt psychology. Kurt Lewin. New Look. Fundamental concepts of Freudian psychoanalysis. Behaviorism and Neo-Behaviorism. Cognitivism: presuppositions and basic concepts. Critical evaluation of cognitive psychology. Notes on connectionism. Evolutionary Psychology. Ecological Psychology. Social constructionism, Cognitive Neuroscience.

Main areas of investigation in psychology. Social Psychology. Community Psychology, Work, Marketing, Environmental Psychology, School Psychology, Clinical Psychology.

Main methods in psychology. Observational, experimental, simulation, differential, clinical methods. Psychometrics: definition and psychological testing requirements.

Major concepts in psychology. Intelligence and problem solving. Concept of Q.I. and mental abilities, concept of personality. Personality tests: questionnaires and projective tests. Learning.

Psychic processes. The affectivity. Motivation and needs. Emotion, frustration, conflict. Cognitive processes. Attention and perception. Categories and concepts. Memory and knowledge representation. Language and thought.

Program for students who follow the course for 9 credits

Module 1: See program for 6 credits

Module 2 : Focus

Cognitive psychology insights. Language and communication. Judgment and decision. Reasoning.

Philosophical assumptions of scientific psychology. Methodological problems, epistemological and philosophical psychology. Mind and body.

Historical insights. Methodological problems of cognitive psychology. Outline on post-Freudian psychoanalysis.

Personality psychology. Theories of types and traits. Constitutionalism. Theories of Allport and Murray. Cattell, factorial theories of personality and Big Five.


Bibliography for students who follow the course for 6 credits

1) P.LEGRENZI, Storia della psicologia. Il Mulino, 5a ediz. 2012 (to be studied the whole book).

2) A. GRECO, Dalla mente che calcola alla mente che vive, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2011 (chapters 1, 4 e 5)

3) V.D'URSO, F.GIUSBERTI, Esperimenti di psicologia , Bologna, Zanichelli, 2a. ediz. 2000 (during the course laboratory activities will be organized; participation in such activities replaces the preparation of the text)

4) One of the following texts:

- L. ANOLLI, P. LEGRENZI, Psicologia generale, Bologna, Il Mulino, 5a. ediz. 2012 or P. LEGRENZI, Fondamenti di psicologia generale. Teorie e pratiche, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2014.

- D.L. SCHACTER, D.T. GILBERT, D.M.WEGNER, Psychology, Worth Publishers 2010 (chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, 6,7, 9, 10, 12).

Bibliography for students who follow the course for 9 credits               

Required texts (only the parts indicated):

1) P.LEGRENZI, Storia della psicologia. Il Mulino, 5a ediz. 2012 (to be studied the whole book)

2) A.GRECO, Dalla mente che calcola alla mente che vive, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2011 (to be studied the whole book, chapters 2 e 3 may be studied less in depth)

3) D.COON, J. MITTERER, Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior 14th Edition, Wadsworth (excluded chapters 2,3,5) or S.NOLEN-HOEKSEMA et al.,Atkinson and Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology, Wadsworth 2009 chapters to be studied: only 1, 5, from 7 to 13 included).

4) V.D'URSO,F.GIUSBERTI, Esperimenti di psicologia, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2a. ediz.2000 (during the course laboratory activities will be organized; participation in such activities replaces the preparation of the text).


Ricevimento:   Office hours of prof. Greco at the following link:    

Exam Board






Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars.


February 19, 2019


Exam description

Intermediate tests, oral exam

Assessment methods

In order to ascertain knowledge, attending students are given the option to take a written test at the end of each block of lessons (corresponding to the two modules of the course). This test consists of a questionnaire that requires open but synthetic answers. Knowledge of the basic topics dealt with during the lessons is evaluated through the analysis of the content of the answers.

The written tests must be integrated with an oral test on the text of D'Urso and Giusberti.


Non-attending students, and attending students who wish, will take an oral exam at the end of the course. This test is aimed at ascertaining the knowledge of the topics as treated in the reference bibliography.


In particular the questions of the written questionnaire and those of the oral question are aimed at ascertaining:

- knowledge and understanding of the differences between scientific and commonsense psychology, areas of investigation and fields of application of psychology, definitions of psychic processes;

- the ability to apply the acquired knowledge in order to rework and argue about the differences between the various theories studied, their historical location and their relevance; the ability to extract ideas for reflection on the methodological aspects of psychological research from participation in laboratory experiments or from reading the recommended text;

- the ability to independently formulate critical judgments in the comparison between the different perspectives studied;

- the ability to express themselves correctly in written answers or oral speech;

- the ability to use teaching materials correctly (slides, reference texts) for the purpose of successful learning.


Although the lectures will be delivered in Italian, on request the Lecturer will provide a comprehensive collection of teaching materials in English for the final exam (on "Aulaweb"), and this exam can be taken in English. On request of students, part of lectures can be delivered in English.

The more detailed program, the schedule of classes, study material and other detailed information to the exam procedure will be available on “Aulaweb”.

Students can attend the Laboratory of Psychology and Cognitive Science to participate in the preparation, administration and analysis of cognitive psychology experiments (see