Academic Year 2017/2018 - 2° Year - Curriculum Curriculum A - Clinico - Riabilitativo
Teaching Staff Credit Value: 12
Scientific field: INF/01 - INFORMATICS
Taught classes: 72 hours
Term / Semester:

Learning Objectives

  • Cognitive Psychology and Neurosciences

    The course provides the basic elements for the study of the mind through the current neuroscientific disciplines.

    The goal is to present the links between neuroscience, psychology and its applications, especially in the field of cognitive neurorehabilitation.

    Particular attention is devoted to the history and applications of artificial intelligence.

  • History of Cognitive Science

    The module is organised in three parts:

    1. The first is devoted to the epistemological bases of scientific knowledge (with special attention to the life sciences).

    2. The second section discusses – through a historical and critical path – the stages that led to the birth of cognitive science and to the "naturalization of the mind."

    3. The third part is devoted to a critical analysis of the main studies and theories that concern the question of genetic determinism and the relation between behaviour / genes / culture.

    The overall sense of the course is thus marked by three general questions: what are the epistemological assumptions to say that something is "scientifically proven"? what have been the main historical and theoretical stages that have shown a relationship between the intellectual and the anatomical and physiological structures of the organism? if the organic structures of an individual are due to its genetic heritage, does their behavioural performance depend on genes?

    The course will not give definite answers to these questions. The debate – at least on its most border aspects – is still ongoing. However, it will provide knowledge and critical tools to be able to better judge any theoretical or practical action related to these questions.

  • Artificial Intelligence

    The course is a basic introduction to the history, interdisciplinary development and applications of Artificial Intelligence. In the second part of the course, It is presented, in more details, the formalization of human thinking and the possibility to design artificial systems able to reproduce human-like deductive systems.

    At the end of this module, students will have a good understanding of the formal and technological aspects of artificial intelligence and will also be able to understand the problems facing the researchers in the field.

Detailed Course Content

  • Cognitive Psychology and Neurosciences

    The course provides the basic elements for the study of the mind through the current neuroscientific disciplines.

    The goal is to present the links between neuroscience, psychology and its applications, especially in the field of cognitive neurorehabilitation.


    The module of cognitive psychology and neuroscience (prof. Di Nuovo) will deal with the relationship between cognitive psychology, neuroscience and simulations, in a multi-disciplinary integration that characterizes cognitive science. The following topics will be deepened:

    - The transition from the cognitive psychology to connectionism and modularism.

    - The genetics and epigenetics in the explanation of cognitive, emotional and social aspects of the mind

    - The applications of neuroscience to the study of mental illness, economics, aesthetics, morality and religion

    - The consciousness, from basic attention to self-awareness

    - The development of language and other cognitive functions and the possibility of simulating in a perspective of 'artificial life'

    - The applications of simulation technologies of education (edutainment) and soft skills (Role games)

    - The use of 'assistive robotics' in the rehabilitation of neurodevelopmental disorders and cognitive deterioration.


    The issues of Artificial Intelligence will be addressed in the module held by prof. Cutello, with reference to the historical aspects, to the methodology, and to the main applications.

    The module held by prof. Coco is focused on the location of neuroscience in the history of sciences and on the relationship with the history of philosophy. These issues include in particular:

    - The importance of a critical approach and epistemological study of the mind;

    - The naturalization of mental processes: instincts, behavioral patterns and optimization models;

    - The theory of complexity and the models of mind, even in an evolutionary approach;

    - The evolutionary function of emotions;

    - The gender diversity.

  • History of Cognitive Science

    1. The importance of a critical and epistemological approach to the study of the mind.

    2. Naturalization of cognitive processes. Evolution by natural selection.

    3. Instincts, behavioural patterns and optimality models.

    4. Genetics, neo-Darwinism, population genetics and sociobiology.

    5. The case of altruism: kin selection, reciprocity and individual strategies, game theory.

    6. The evolutionary function of emotions.

    7. The primacy of genetics?

    8. The limits of the genetic reductionism and the evolution in four dimension. The Brain That Changes Itself.

    9. Genes and culture: diversity and conflicts between genres: from the seductive strategies to the maximization of benefits.

  • Artificial Intelligence

    The course is divided into two main parts. First part on History, Foundations, Evolution and Applications of Artificial Intelligence and the second part on Formal Logic and Reasoning.


    • Foundations and history of Artificial Intelligence
    • The concept of computation and Turing Machines
    • Applications of Artificial Intelligence


    • Boolean Logic
    • First order logic and syllogims
    • Inferences
    • From Natural Languages to Formal Logic
    • Examples of automated reasoning

Textbook Information

  • Cognitive Psychology and Neurosciences

    For the module of cognitive psychology and neuro science:

    Di Nuovo S., “Prigionieri delle neuroscienze?” – Giunti 2014

    Aa.Vv., “Vita naturale, vita artificiale” – , F. Angeli 2015

    Specific materials on the topics treated by prof. Coco will be shown on the website of the Department.

    For the module INF/01 the text n. 2 will be useful; the teacher will place on the website useful materials for the study of the history of Artificial Intelligence, its multidisciplinary grounding, and formal logic; and will give guidance on their use for the examination.

  • History of Cognitive Science

    Slides and lecture notes are available on the web platform Studium.

  • Artificial Intelligence

    No textbook. The instructor will provide the students with the necessary lecture notes and slides.