Learning outcomes of the course unit
1. Knowledge and understanding. Functioning of cognitive and motivational processes as base of patients behavior. Fetal and neonatal development, neurological plasticity. Verbal and non-verbal communication, functioning of groups, processes of social influence.
2. Students will be able to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in dealing with medical-surgery issues in interdisciplinary contexts and will be able to interact with patients, their families, and health care personnel. They must be able to tolerate physically workloads to function effectively under stress, and to display flexibility and adaptability to changing environments. Obstetrics will be able to work thoughtfully and skillfully under pressure and variable work schedules. They will enjoy practicing both medicine and surgery showing clinical acumen along with dexterity, precision.
3. Independence of judgment. Students will develop critical thinking skills and independent judgment with respect to the clinical protocols including reflection on social and ethical responsibilities.
4.Communication skills. Students will be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with patients, their families, and members of the health care team. They will be able to obtain a medical history in a culturally competent manner, interpret non-verbal aspects of communication, establish therapeutic relationships with patients and to recognize and regulate cognitive and emotional processes associated with stress and pain.
5. Learning ability. Students will be able to contribute to collaborative learning environments, accepting constructive feedback from others and taking personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes. Students will be able to upgrade from reliable sources and to continue their professional development on their own.
Course contents summary
From scientific psychology to neuroscience; Main methods and research paradigms; Fetal development and neuronal plasticity, programming and adaptive response; Cortical representation of pain and modulation; Learning: paradigms and conditioned responses. Memory: memory systems, processes of information retrieval; Emotions and Communication; Making decisions: The principles that guide human decisions. Stress, burnout and human error. Models and applications in health care.
Scientific psychology: Methods of investigation.
Prenatal origins of neurological development
Fetal Programming, fetal psychology, adaptive response.
Prenatal experience and neural placisticy.
Sensory development in the fetus, neonate, and infant.
Fetal learning and memory.
Brain changes following vibroacustic and musical stimulation.
The representation of the body and the knowledge of pain.
Cortical representation of pain.
Anticipation and empathy in the perception of pain.
Stress and pain modulation.
Self-assessment tools of pain.
Attentional function and self-awareness.
Learning, memory and Language.
The paradigms of respondent conditioning and operant conditioning.
Conditioning of responses in humans.
Development of language and communication.
Non-verbal communication: facial expressions, eye contact, posture.
Understanding and communication of emotions.
The emotions in the context of medical and health.
Psychological impact of the disease the medical professional.
Stress and burn-out responses.
Prevention and intervention.
Slides of the lectures and the following scientific papers:
1. Glynn, L.M. & Sandman, C.A. (2011). Prenatal origins of neurological development: A critical period for fetus and mother. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20, 384-389
2. Di Pietro, J.A. (2010). Psychological and psychophysiological considerations regarding the maternal–fetal relationship. Inf. Child. Dev. 19, 27–38. doi: 10.1002/icd.651.
3. James, D.K. (2010). Fetal learning: A critical review. Inf. Child. Dev. 19: 45–54. doi: 10.1002/icd.653.
4. Moon, C., Lagercrantz, H. Kuhl, P.K. (2013). Language experienced in utero affects vowel perception after birth: a two-country study. Acta Pædiatrica, 102, 156–160. doi: 10.1111/apa.12098.
5. Maas, A.J.B.M. Et al. (2012). “Expectant Parents”: Study protocol of a longitudinal study concerning prenatal (risk) factors and postnatal infant development, parenting, and parent-infant relationships. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 12, 46 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2393/12/46.
The course takes place mainly by means of lectures that will cover the main contents with many references to theories and theoretical models and applied aspects of the discipline. Video tutorial may accompany the lessons. In order to actively involve students, lectures will be supported from practice individual and/or group and collaboration in interdisciplinary research for active learning of procedures and methodologies.
Assessment methods and criteria
The oral examination will ascertain the attainment of all the objectives of the course. Any questions regarding the contents tend to check whether the student has attained a solid foundation of knowledge and a deep understanding of what was discussed. The final evaluation will be derived from the accuracy levels achieved for each training goal corresponding to 6 classes of evaluation (A to F).