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Accreditata MUR con D.M. 02/12/2005
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Scienze psicologiche delle risorse umane, delle organizzazioni e delle imprese, classe L-24

General psychology


Anno accademico: 2021/2022



Crediti: ECT: 12 CFU

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Sara Mori, a cognitive-behavioural psychologist and psychotherapist, graduated in Work and Organisational Psychology from the Faculty of Psychology in Florence, where she was also an expert in Test Theory and Techniques. She obtained her PhD in Evaluation of Educational Systems and Processes at the University of Genoa.

She has been working with groups since 2005, both in training and in self-help and clinical contexts, having worked as a co-teacher at the “Scuola Cognitiva” in Florence (Florence branch of “Studi Cognitivi” in Milan).

She has carried out internships and training in the field of human resources at Gucci and Adecco in the areas of corporate training design and personnel selection.

Since 2011, she has been working at Indire in school improvement projects and in activities of promotion and evaluation of innovation in the  classroom for the development of soft skills and well-being. Since 2013, she has been working with IUL, first as a tutor, then as a lecturer in postgraduate, Master and Degree courses.

Over the years, she has carried out research into the cognitive and emotional variables involved in learning and the risk and protective factors for psychological well-being.

The course is organised in four modules providing an overview of the main topics of study in psychology. In particular, an awareness of a scientific approach to psychological phenomena will be developed at the expense of an attitude more typical of “naive psychology”, emphasising the individual and systemic dimensions of processes.

The activities of the modules can be carried out independently or in groups.
The programme of the modules is detailed below.

⮚ Module 1 – The method in scientific psychology (reference manual chapters: 1)
The topics covered are:

– History of psychology: from birth to the present day.
– Research in psychology: methods.
– Applying the scientific method in psychology.
– Writing in psychology.

In the online environment, study materials will be available on the basic concepts of psychology: the fields of intervention of the profession; psychological testing; how to write a paper in psychology.
In order to deepen the theme proposed in the e-tivity, the forum “A topic that fascinates me: from naive psychology to scientific psychology” is proposed.

E-activity: Students are asked to complete a SWOT analysis on a situation-problem that will be presented in the course. This activity is closely linked to the activity of the second module (see details in the section “in itinere assessment methods”).

1 Introductory webinar by the lecturer: Scientific psychology: a careful analysis of human behaviour and the functioning of the mind. Introduction to the collaborative model of online knowledge proposed in the course.

1 Webinar with the tutor: during the meeting the e-activities will be illustrated and the possibility of carrying them out in individual or group mode, detailing methods and tools for each mode.

⮚ Module 2 – From brain to behaviour (reference manual chapters: 2, 4,10,11)
The topics covered are:
– Neuroscience and behaviour.
– States of consciousness.

– Motivation.
– Emotions.

In the online environment, study materials will be available on: brain lateralisation; attachment; the evolutionary approach to development; sleep and dreaming; motivation and emotions in professional contexts.

In order to stimulate the analysis of the topics dealt with in the module, an in-depth forum is proposed: “Neuroscience in psychology: contributions, research areas and possible applications”.

E-tivity: starting from the activities carried out in the first module (forum and etivity), students are asked to illustrate a hypothesis and a study method for observing an aspect they consider of particular interest, within the problem situation that was analysed. (see for details the section “in itinere assessment methods”).

⮚ Module 3 – Cognitive variables (reference book chapters 3.2, 5,6, 7.3,7.4,8)
The topics covered are:
– Perception.
– Learning.
– Memory.
– Intelligence; Thought and creativity.

In the online environment, study materials will be available on the link between perception and culture, memory and new technologies, problem solving skills, transversal skills and the development of creativity in the company.

An in-depth forum is planned on the theme: “Group learning: strengths and weaknesses in presence and in virtual space”.

E-tivity: Peer and self-assessment (see for details the section “in itinere assessment methods”).

1 Webinar with tutor: Peer review and self-assessment. In this webinar the objective is the presentation and analysis of the first two etivities guided by the format of the third etivity, in order to facilitate awareness and review of one’s own journey.

⮚ Module4 – Social variables (reference book chapters 9- 12,13.2, 13.3)
The topics covered are:
– From group to team.
– Communication: verbal and non-verbal language.
– Personality.
– Well-being.
In the online environment, study materials will be available on communication in humans and animals; the concept of well-being and methods of stress management; and group concepts.

In order to encourage active reflection on psychological themes, the module proposes an in-depth forum: “Let’s share a film that deals with a topic of interest to me in relation to psychology: what is it about and why did I choose it. A guided analysis.”.

E-activity: Mind maps: key words and connections in the course topics (see for details the section “in itinere assessment methods”).

1 Webinar with the lecturer: “Emotional intelligence: intra- and interpersonal competence”. Concluding reflections, concluding questions before the final examination.

The course of General Psychology aims to illustrate the basic principles, problems and methods of the science of psychology. In particular it deepens the study of the mind, along with such aspects of mind as perception, cognition, emotion, and behavior. Particular attention is given to the aspect of the methodology in psychological research.

The course is organised in four modules during which it is intended to develop the awareness of a scientific approach to psychological phenomena: the method in psychological research; the brain and the behaviour; the cognitive and the social aspects.

The e-tivities and forum proposed aim to develop the ability to analyse human behaviour starting from the individual level up to the personal and work contexts.

  • Knowledge and understanding in the general area.

The course aims to provide a solid foundation in psycho-social research methods and the main fields of study of psychology.  In order to build a solid theoretical and methodological foundation capable of supporting students in the subsequent courses, a broad overview of the main contents of scientific psychology will be provided. The exercises aim at stimulating the application of the acquired knowledge through the analysis of the dynamics in the student’s reference contexts.

It also provides tools for understanding social processes with a focus on group dynamics. It also aims at developing critical competences with respect to verbal and non-verbal communication and seeks to develop personal awareness of one’s own ways of handling emotions and their connection with thoughts and behaviour in meaningful contexts.


  • With regard to specific knowledge

The course deals with topics useful for analysing intra-group dynamics and the individual/group relationship; the main cognitive, emotional and social variables linked to behaviour; the wellbeing of the person; the methodology of psycho-social research; the professional contexts of the psychologist.


Through forums, e-activities and synchronizations, the ability to understand the psychological basis of behaviour, social dynamics and relationships between individuals and groups is developed; collaboration between students is stimulated for the development of action-research activities in order to promote skills useful for generating change in organisational contexts; it is illustrated how it is possible to construct, adapt and standardise psychological and psychosocial survey instruments.

A. Knowledge and understanding
▪ Knowledge of the main psychological theories.
▪ Knowledge of the main scientific methods for observing psychological phenomena.
▪ Knowledge of the main studies on emotional, cognitive and social psychological variables.
▪ Understanding the functionality of the mind.
▪ Understanding group dynamics.

  • Understanding dynamics in organisational contexts.

B. Applied knowledge and understanding
▪ Ability to construct a scientific research design to investigate psychological phenomena of interest.
▪ Ability to use films to read psychological phenomena.
▪ Ability to analyse the functionality of their target groups.
▪ Ability to summarize what has been learned and relate it to relevant contexts.


C. Autonomy of judgement
▪ Ability to choose methods and tools useful for the study of basic psychological phenomena according to the specificities of the context.
▪ Ability to read social and personal phenomena holistically through the analysis of emotions, thoughts and behaviour.


D. Communication skills
▪ Ability to expound on the main scientific-methodological issues affecting psychology using the specialist language of the field, including through group work.
▪ Ability to understand the main features of verbal and non-verbal communication.


E. Learning capacity
▪ Ability to independently investigate the main scientific-methodological issues affecting psychology;
▪ Ability to find sources useful for the study and investigation of psychological phenomena.

A. Use of advanced textbooks, knowledge of some cutting-edge topics within the subject studied.
Specifically, topics in the field of scientific psychology and neuroscience will be explored, with a focus on current theories of the theory of mind and well-being.
In the four modules and in particular in the e-activities, students will be directed to the use of bibliographic resources not only traditional (paper) but – through a process of critical analysis of online resources – also digital ones.

B. Professional approach to their work and possession of adequate skills to devise arguments, support them and solve problems within the subject studied.
The student will be called upon to deal with arguments in the field of scientific psychology, with a particular focus on social and organisational contexts.

C. Ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to specialists and non-specialists.
The ability to collect and interpret data to make independent judgments is promoted. Through the analysis of films, case studies and practical examples from everyday life, the socio-psychological mechanisms underlying our critical thinking and the ways in which we can formulate judgements and opinions will be highlighted.
Students will be provided with useful indications and methodologies to organise a multimedia presentation, also through the use of mindl maps, and to know how to present it using vocabulary and communication methods appropriate to the target audience with particular attention to social and organisational contexts.

D. Ability to undertake further studies with a high degree of autonomy.
Students will be helped to organise their study in a fruitful way by means of tools and methods that encourage the “learning to learn”. As this is a General Psychology course, basic topics useful for developing knowledge of social psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology and the psychology of work and organisations will be covered, with a particular focus on methodology.


(The topics can be found in the section (Description of contents and subdivision of the programme into teaching modules”).

  • 20 video lessons (about half an hour each) recorded on the platform.
  • 4 synchronous meetings on the platform led by lecturers and tutors.
  • Podcasts of all the above-mentioned video lessons.



  • 1 course orientation forum;
  • 4 thematic in-depth forums (1 per module as described);
  • 4 structured e-activities that can be carried out in groups with other students or individually (as described in the section in itinere assessment methods”).
  • Possibility of synchronous group work within the collaborative development of e-activities.



Teaching materials are provided for each module: in-depth thematic studies, articles and slides by the lecturer, open access readings, online resources, reference bibliography.

The course includes the study of the chapters of the General Psychology Handbook recommended as a basic textbook for the course: each topic is described in detail in the slides of the lectures given by the lecturer, which refer to the handbook and are considered as study materials. In addition to these, each module will include in-depth study materials that will be an integral part of the course of study and discussion in the final exam.

The recommended e-books address the topics covered in the teaching materials and synchronous meetings.


Recommended reference manual for the course:

  • Psicologia generale- by Robert S. Feldman – McGraw-Hill (Italian edition edited by G. F. Amoretti and M.R. Ciceri), Milan, Italy, 3rd updated edition (2017) ISBN: 9788838615580). The handbook also gives access to online self-assessment tests on the publisher’s platform.


Recommended e-books and/or further reading books:

  • Valerio,M.. , Di Vera, M., Pezzetta, J. (2014). Benessere lavoro correlato. Esperienze di promozione del benessere organizzativo. Erickson, Trento.
  • McKenzie, S. Mindfulness a lavoro. (2018) Piccolo manuale di sopravvivenza allo stress. Erickson, Trento.
  • Ellis, A., Harper, R.A., (2016). A pensar bene si vive meglio. Erickson, Trento.
  • Gallucci, F. (2014), Marketing emozionale e neuroscienze. Egea. Bocconi University Publisher.

In order to respond flexibly to the specific needs of each student, there will be the possibility to recommend alternative or additional readings during the lessons to those who ask for them.


Access to the final examination is subject to the following 4 e-activities and a final recommended one for a personal verification of one’s learning.
Activities carried out in groups will be assessed on the basis of the group results; each student will however hand in the group work, also in his or her individual mode.
Each one of the activities will be assessed as a whole throughout the course in the examination.
The general objective of the activities is to develop the student’s competence to observe and reflect on individual and group psychological phenomena from an analytical and scientific point of view.

The evaluation criteria for the activities for all students refer to: relevance of the topics; accuracy of the reflections; content expounded; mode of participation/collaboration on the platform.

⮚ For Module 1 (in itinere activity)
SWOT analysis: students are asked to identify the weaknesses and strengths of a proposed problem situation. This activity can be carried out in groups or individually. In both cases, participation in the forum is required.

⮚ For module 2 (in itinere activity)
The application of the scientific method: Students are asked to illustrate a research hypothesis and a method of observation of one of the factors characterising the proposed situation. In this way it will be possible to apply in a concrete way what emerged in the SWOT analysis of the first module. This activity can be carried out in groups or individually. In both cases, participation in the forum is required.

⮚ For module 3 (in itinere activity): Peer assessment and self-assessment: an assessment rubric is proposed to students with which to carry out a peer review activity of the first two e-activities or self-assessment on what they have done. This activity is also strongly linked to participation in the webinar with the tutor in the same module. Through a dedicated forum and synchronisation with the tutor, students will be able to express their willingness to carry out peer evaluation with other students.

⮚ For module 4 (in itinere activity): Mind maps: students or groups of students are asked to create a mind map (with the tool they consider appropriate) of the topics covered in the course, summarising their salient points and connections. Maps are an important tool to develop the competence of the “learning to learn”: in this case students are asked to create it as a conclusion of their study path and to illustrate it during the exam.

Each activity will be guided by files that can be edited and sent within the platform.

A written assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the papers will be made prior to submission for examination and will be discussed during the oral examination.

The assessment of learning will take the form of an oral interview on the course contents and on the final report submitted, if any. The grade (min 18, max 30 with possible honours) is determined by the level of performance for each of the following dimensions of the oral interview: mastery of contents, appropriateness of definitions and theoretical references, clarity of argument, command of specialist language.