Psychology of Communication

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
In line with the general purposes of the degree program in Communication and Society, this course will offer theoretical and methodological tools to understand the psychosocial mechanisms involved in human communication.
Therefore, the main psychological theories aimed at explaining the major functions of communication, the key parts of the communication process, and the effects of the different modes of communication will be introduced. The interplay of the forces that affect the communication dynamics will be analyzed at interpersonal and group levels. It will be discussed the "communication competency model" and students will have the opportunity to get to know and apply some techniques to develop interpersonal skills involved in this competency.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of this course, students should be able to:
- Describing the functions and process of communication.
- Contrasting oral, written and nonverbal communication.
- Explaining why and how specific personal, social and organizational factors affect communication in social contexts and at the workplace.
- Identifying common barriers and biases to effective communication at interpersonal and group levels.
- Understanding how to use some techniques to improve interpersonal and social communication (such as, self-disclosure, assertiveness, listening, persuasion, conflict management, group facilitation).
- Analyzing in a critical perspective the dynamics of communication processes in social contexts.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second trimester
In case of extension of the COVID-19 emergency, the lessons will be online via ZOOM in synchronous mode, following the official schedule. Each lesson will be recorded and later available on ARIEL. The program will be the same as written in the syllabus.
Updates, details, and further information will be available on ARIEL.
Course syllabus
Modules 1 and 2
1. The main psychological approaches to the study of communication.
2. The functions and components of the communication process.
3. Characteristics of verbal and non-verbal communication.
4. Understanding, communicating, and managing emotions in the communication process.
5. Culture and communication.
6. Communication as a process to influence: persuasive communication.
7. Identifying and strategically managing psycho-traps in communication.
8. Communication skills: theory and technique of assertiveness, active listening, management of feedback, and objections.
9. The main ways of miscommunication (ironic communication, lying communication, seductive communication) and pathological communication.
10. Cognitive styles, framing effect, and communication.
11. Social communication of risk and danger.
12. Communication and optimism.

Module 3
13. Communication and conflict dynamics: conflict management and negotiation strategies.
14. Communication processes and dynamics in the working groups: opportunities, obstacles to be prevented or managed.
15. Leadership styles.
16. Communication in organizations: functions, techniques, critical issues.
Prerequisites for admission
Prerequisites for admission are not required.
Teaching methods
Teaching methods will be frontal lessons, case studies, videos, role-playing. Students will be involved in interactive sessions and exercises to understand concepts in depth and their implications. Out-class mini-tasks will be proposed to support learning.
Teaching Resources
Required textbooks:
Lotto, L. e Rumiati, R. (a cura di ) (2013). Introduzione alla psicologia della comunicazione. Seconda edizione. Bologna: Il Mulino.
Capitoli: I, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, X, XIII, XIV, XV

Anolli, A. (2012). Fondamenti di psicologia della comunicazione. Seconda edizione Bologna: Il Mulino.
Capitoli: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX.

Suggested reading (not compulsory): Owen Hargie, editor, The Handbook of Communication skills, Routledge, London, 2006. Capitoli: II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XVI.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is a written test composed of open questions and multiple-choice questions. It aims at verifying: a) knowledge of the main theoretical concepts and models that explain interpersonal, group and socio-organizational communication processes; b) the ability to illustrate the characteristics of the main ways of communication and their implications; c) the ability to recognize the cognitive, emotional, socio-cultural factors that influence the effectiveness of communication; d) the ability to use the specific language of the discipline properly.

The time available to complete the exam is 1 hour and 15 minutes. The maximum score achievable is 30. The minimum score to pass the exam is 18/30.
Lessons: 60 hours
Educational website(s)
Mondays: 4 pm - 7 pm (by appointment via email). Due to the COVID-19 emergency, it is possible to schedule an online meeting (via Skype or Zoom)
via Conservatorio 7, room n. 11