Psychology and Creativity (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Claudia Annechini
Claudia Annechini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A dal Feb 15, 2021 al Apr 1, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Psychology and Creativity In recent years much has been done to propose forms of intersection between art and psychology. Among the recognized factors which underlie these intersections, there is the recognition of the value of the cognitive processes that generate the creative path. Students will be able to acquire the necessary knowledge to face the artistic and creative experience and its development with tools and methodologies of the psychology of art according to an experimental and phenomenological approach.


Creativity is cognitive ability and an intellectual exercise. In Psychology of art, Creativity indicates a process of synthesis and analysis that doesn't concern who creates the artwork, but also those who enjoys the creation. The course aims to analyze this statement by addressing the following topics:

1. Knowledge and an understanding of the theoretical foundations for psychology of art, focusing on concepts concerning the inner workings of sight and perception. To be able to internalize such concepts by developing observation skills and a critical eye for art analysis.
2. Knowledge and an understanding of the basic theory in the context of art consumption and art making according to the principals of Environmental, Social, and Educational Psychology. More specifically, to contextualise and examine the interaction between art and the individual on a social, environmental, cognitive, subjective and objective level.
3. Knowledge and an understanding of the fundamentals of Neuroaesthetics: the theories of Cognitive Science and of aesthetics that deal with the theme of aesthetic experience from a sensory and emotional viewpoint.

The text books readings in reference to this course are as follows. A targeted selection of research articles, and essay extracts (which will be specified at the beginning of the course).

Students will have to prepare five texts of their choice:

1. Argenton, A. ('1996). Arte e cognizione. Introduzione alla psicologia dell'arte, 235 - 261.
2. Arnheim, R., & Dorfles, G. (2002). Arte e percezione visiva. Nuova versione (Vol. 23). Feltrinelli Editore, 31 - 55.
3. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Csikzentmihaly, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (Vol. 1990). New York: Harper & Row.
4. Freedberg, D., & Gallese, V. (2007). Motion, emotion and empathy in esthetic experience. Trends in cognitive sciences, 11(5), 197-203.
5. Kandel, E. R. (2012). L'età dell'inconscio: Arte, mente e cervello dalla grande Vienna ai nostri giorni. Raffaello Cortina, 441 - 489.
6. Leder, H., & Nadal, M. (2014). Ten years of a model of aesthetic appreciation and aesthetic judgments: The aesthetic episode–Developments and challenges in empirical aesthetics. British Journal of Psychology, 105(4), 443-464.
7. Massironi, M. (2000). L'osteria dei dadi truccati: arte, psicologia e dintorni. Il mulino, 55 - 83.
8. Mastandrea, S. (2011). Il ruolo delle emozioni nell’esperienza estetica. Rivista di estetica, (48), 95-111.
9. Packer, J. (2008). Beyond learning: Exploring visitors' perceptions of the value and benefits of museum experiences. Curator: The Museum Journal, 51(1), 33-54.
10. Zeki, S. (2007). Neurologia dell’ambiguità. Immagini della mente. Neuroscienze, arte, filosofia. Milano: Raffaello Cortina, 83-119.

In 2020/2021 teaching will take place in dual mode (presence in the classroom and recording of the lessons for remote viewing on the E-learning platform). Students are recommended to subscribe on Moodle platform.

Assessment methods and criteria

Students are expected to submit a written assignment (essay, 5000 characters with spaces). The essay must comply with the guidelines given. The guidelines are available on the Ateneo e-Learning platform (Moodle) on the teaching webpage. The exam consists of a presentation and discussion of the essay.
Students will be provided with teaching aids (e.g., slides, .pdf files, audio and / or video files of the lessons, etc.). The materials will be uploaded to the Moodle platform, because, given the unpredictability of the evolution of the Covid - 19 situation, the teaching methods can be perpetuated via E-Learning.

The evaluation system does not differenciate between students who attend the lectures and those who choose to study the material independently.