The course

Title: [2473/2021] - COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND THEORY OF COMMUNICATION
  • Class: LM-55
  • Location: MESSINA
  • Language: English
  • President: EDOARDO AUGUSTO FUGALI
  • Access: Free
Requirements

Students interested in enrolling in the multidisciplinary MD in Cognitive Science and Theory of Communication (LM-55/92) must have in-depth knowledge of cognitive processes, the methodology of empirical sciences, and adequate notions of neuroscience and of philosophical, semiotic, communicative, pedagogical knowledge, as well as anthropological, linguistic, IT and socio-political fields.
Enrolment in the course requires a three-year degree in the following classes: L-05 (Philosophy), L-19 (Education and training sciences), L-20 (Communication sciences), L-24 (Psychological sciences and techniques), L-15 (Cultural tourism), L-03 D.A.M.S., L-39 (Social service sciences), L-31 (Computer sciences and technologies) and equivalent, or another three-year degree obtained in Italy that ensures the acquisition of at least 30 CFU in the following SSDs: L-LIN/01, M-PED, M-FIL, M-PSI, SPS, INF, ING-INF, or another degree obtained abroad, recognised as suitable. As this is an international course given in English, certification of a level of competence equal to at least B2 is required as an entry qualification.
The verification of the student's preparation (ex art. 6, par. 2 of D.M. 270/04) is carried out prior to enrolment in accordance with the procedures indicated in the course regulations.

Goals

The educational objectives of the Multidisciplinary Master Degree in Cognitive Sciences and Communication Theories (Class LM-55/92) aim to provide an advanced preparation in the disciplines that contribute to define the field of cognitive sciences such as cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, linguistics, artificial intelligence, philosophy and social sciences, to be combined with high-level theoretical and methodological skills aimed at the analysis, design and implementation of models and communication interfaces that fall within the latest generation of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), with particular regard to the analysis of the cognitive functions involved in communication processes and the possibility of emulating them through artificial devices. More specifically, graduates are required to:
- acquire in-depth knowledge of a theoretical and operational nature for the interdisciplinary approach to the study of the mind, behaviour and communicative capabilities of organisms
- be able to carry out basic and applied research activities independently and within groups in the interdisciplinary fields of cognition and communication, making use of a thorough knowledge of data collection and analysis methodologies;
- be able to understand the structure and functioning of the various media and the cognitive processes underlying them
- become proficient in the technical knowledge needed to program software to emulate natural cognitive and communicative processes;
- have in-depth theoretical and operational knowledge of communication and decision-making processes, to be used in the analysis of these processes at individual and collective level, in organisational, economic and social contexts;
- be familiar with the simulative, observational and experimental methodologies used in the study of the mind-brain system and in the design of human-computer interfaces and between man and other complex systems
- be able to use fluently, in written and oral form, at least one language of the European Union in addition to English, with reference also to the disciplinary lexicons.
Graduates of the course will be able to carry out functions of high responsibility in organisations and services aimed at individuals, groups and communities (schools, public administration, public and private companies), in the design of interfaces and information systems, in the analysis, conception and implementation of integrated communication systems, with particular reference to the new media. They can also work as freelancers and consultants for public and private organisations. They will also be able to work in all working contexts in which communication and the dissemination of knowledge is necessary, on the basis of innovative skills that enable them to promote and use the new technologies at various levels, both in public bodies and in private companies, as well as in economic organisations of various types.
For the purposes indicated, the LM-55/92 degree course provides for
- activities aimed at acquiring theoretical and methodological knowledge relating to the various disciplinary fields of cognitive and communication sciences;
- activities aimed at developing the skills needed to create computational models of the functioning of systems at different levels of complexity;
- seminars, laboratory activities, application experiences in real or simulated situations, relating to training activities in the disciplinary fields of the LM-55 and LM-92 classes;
- activities that count as an internship;
- external activities and study stays at other Italian and European universities, within the framework of international agreements;
- additional activities dedicated to deepening in a multidisciplinary sense the knowledge related to the foundations of cognition, communication and information, with a view to acquiring high-level skills;
- workshop and/or internship activities also in the form of external activities (training periods at institutions, institutes and companies, as well as study stays at other Italian and foreign universities);
- design, research and analysis activities that attest to the acquisition of mastery of the topics covered, as well as the ability to operate autonomously and within cooperative contexts in the field of research in cognitive science and communication theories.
The multidisciplinary course has been designed and consolidated in its current form since it was set up in the 2014/15 academic year, with the aim of reconciling the need to guarantee the educational objectives envisaged for the respective degree classes, and according to the relative areas of learning, with that of creating a single integrated project that highlights the close complementary relationship between the cognitive sciences and the theories of communication, especially in light of their markedly interdisciplinary nature. Numerous multidisciplinary courses and research centres have been set up both abroad and in Italy, combining the expertise of both in such a way as to achieve a virtuous synergy that is not merely a juxtaposition relationship, such as the Research Centre in Cognitive and Communication Sciences at the Catholic University of Milan or the MA in Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen.
The multidisciplinary course has been designed in such a way that all SSDs included in it (M-FIL/01, M-FIL/02, M-FIL/03, M-FIL/05, M-PSI/01, M-PSI/02, L-LIN/01, INF-01, ING-INF/05, SPS/07, L-ART/06) are needed in both classes, LM-55 and LM-92, of which it is intended to represent the organic synthesis, even if grouped in one and in the other according to different characterising and related fields and according to different weights in terms of CFUs. The subjects belonging to these SSD are defined each year in their content physiognomy and harmonised with each other with the explicit objective of providing students with high-level skills in the study of mental processes in terms of their genesis and structure - representations, stereotypes, concepts, beliefs and individual or intersubjectively shared opinions - which find expression in our communicative processes and are largely retroactively modelled by them.
This is achieved by means of disciplines such as theoretical philosophy, philosophy of mind and language, moral philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science, the analysis of human-computer interaction, sociology and the study of media devices. As this brief presentation should already highlight, the dimensions of cognition and communication are not only investigated as the exclusive prerogative of natural organisms, but also from the point of view of their implementation in artificial devices that broaden their scope and modify, at least in part, their functioning: hence the need to include in the training offer specific courses that investigate the impact of communication and information technologies on the human mind.
In the construction of the course, the requirement of 60 CFU in common between the two courses that make up the multidisciplinary one has been met. The programmed offer is also defined from year to year so as to include as many disciplines as possible that are common to the two degree classes in the first year of the course, in order to allow students who intend to change course a smooth transition to the following year that does not involve an excessive learning burden.
In order to provide a more detailed and comprehensible presentation of the course of study, it was deemed necessary to divide it into two classes. For the LM-55 class, the following areas are identified:
- Characteristic field of philosophy and linguistics, in the SSD L-LIN/01, M-FIL/01, M-FIL/02 and M-FIL/05. The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the acquisition of the theoretical tools necessary to independently and critically conduct philosophical and linguistic investigation and research on the human and animal mind, on cognitive processes, on the functional role they play in behaviour and language and on the possibility of simulating them through artificial devices;
- characteristic field of psychological disciplines (SSD M-PSI/01). The knowledge, skills and abilities provided in this area relate to the psychological investigation of the nature of the thought processes of human and animal organisms and the dysfunctionalities that impair their success.
- The area of psychobiology and cognitive neuroscience (SSD M-PSI/02). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the experimental investigation of the neurophysiological processes underlying cognitive processes and the functional architecture of the brain, and in the acquisition of mastery of the techniques and methodologies adopted in this field of study.
- Characteristic field of mathematics, informatics and engineering disciplines (SSD INF/01). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist of the acquisition of the fundamentals of computer science and information theory, as well as the main programming methodologies.
- characteristic field of economics, statistics and social sciences (SSD SPS/07). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the acquisition of the basic theoretical notions of sociology as regards its relevance to the cognitive sciences.
- related disciplines (SSD INF/01, ING-INF/05, L-ART/06, M-FIL/03 and M-FIL/05). In accordance with the interdisciplinary nature of the course, the knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist of in-depth thematic studies with a specialised vocation relating to the disciplines already present in the characterising areas, as well as the problems inherent in the design of human-machine interaction and the engineering of usability and the study of theoretical approaches to the theme of mediality developed since the twentieth century.
- free disciplines: these are chosen by the student, provided that they are congruent with the main disciplinary characteristics of the course of study;
- other knowledge useful for entry into the world of work;
- additional language skills in Italian;
- final examination.
For the LM-92 class, the course is divided into the following learning areas:
- Characterising area of theories and techniques of information and communication (SSD INF/01, ING-INF/05, L-ART/06, L-LIN/01, M-FIL/02, M-FIL/05, SPS/07). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the mastery of the fundamental notions of information theory and programming, of the problems inherent to the design of human-computer interaction and usability engineering, of the main media theories developed since the twentieth century, of the main theories of linguistic and cultural communication, in the philosophical investigation of the cognitive processes involved in communication, and in the acquisition of the basic theoretical notions of sociology applied to the investigation of communication processes.
- Characterising field of socio-economic, historical-political and cognitive disciplines (SSD M-FIL/01, M-FIL/03, M-FIL/05, M-PSI/01, M-PSI/02). In accordance with the interdisciplinary nature of the course, the knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist in the acquisition of the theoretical foundations of the philosophy and ethics of communication as well as the tools for psychological and neuroscientific investigation of the thought processes involved in communication and their neurophysiological correlates.
- related disciplines (SSD INF/01 and M-FIL/01). The knowledge, skills and abilities transmitted in this area consist of in-depth thematic studies on the theoretical foundations of artificial intelligence and reflection on the cognitive processes involved in communication.
- free disciplines: these are chosen by the student, provided that they are congruent with the main disciplinary characteristics of the course of study;
- other knowledge useful for entry into the world of work;
- additional language skills in Italian;
- final examination.

Results

The number of students enrolled in the first year of the Master Degree in Cognitive Sciences and Theory of Communication in A.Y. 2020/21 is 13, compared to 15 in A.Y. 2019/20, confirming the downward trend already underway. As regards the age bracket, 5 students are aged between 19 and 25, 4 between 26 and 30, 1 between 31 and 35 and 3 over 35. As regards the area of residence, 3 students come from the province of Messina, 3 from the rest of Sicily, 3 from the province of Reggio Calabria, 2 from the rest of Calabria, 2 from other provinces of Italy ¿ a fact that confirms the prevalent local vocation of the Degree Course. As far as the school of origin is concerned, 5 students come from Licei, 1 from Istituti magistrali, 0 from technical institutes, 1 from professional institutes and 6 from other institutes. There is a similar decrease in the total number of students enrolled which, for A.Y. 2021/21 amounts to 52 units compared to 73 in A.Y. 2019/20. Broken down by geographical area, 19 students come from the province of Messina, 14 from the rest of Sicily, 9 from the province of Reggio Calabria, 6 from the rest of Calabria, 4 from the rest of Italy and 0 from abroad. As for the schools of origin, 25 enrolled students come from high schools, 6 from technical institutes, 13 from teacher training institutes, 1 from professional institutes and 7 from other institutes. 21 enrolled are in course, and 31 are out of course. There are 62 enrolled students who have obtained ECTS in the calendar year 2020 (63 in 2019) for a total of 2121.25 ECTS compared to 1857 obtained in 2019. 221 exams were taken in 2020 compared to 173 in 2019. The average grade of the profit exams in 2020 is 27.1/30 (26.7/30 in 2019), the number of graduates is 18 (9 in 2019), of which 5 in course and 13 out of course, and that of the graduation grades is 105.8/110, against 106.2/100 in 2019. 11 students graduated with honours, compared to 5 in 2019.
The latest data (survey year 2020, in which 6 out of 9 graduates responded at one year, 17 out of 23 at three years and 6 out of 7 at five years), relating to the employment situation of graduates from the MD in Cognitive Science and Theory of Communication , show a slight downward trend compared to the previous survey.
Of the LM-55/92 graduates, 50% are currently employed one year after graduation, 59.2% three years after graduation and 16.7% five years after graduation. They participated in at least one postgraduate training activity 33.3% one year after graduation (16.7% voluntary collaboration, 16.7% vocational training course), 47.1% three years after graduation (23.5% PhD, 17.6% first level master's degree, 5.9% voluntary collaboration, other type of master's degree and vocational training course) and 66.7% five years after graduation (33.3% internship in a company, 16.7% voluntary collaboration, postgraduate school and vocational training course).
The net monthly salary is euro 1001 at one year after graduation, euro 1376 at three years and euro 2,376 at five years.