PSY468 Psychology of Learning (8)


Psychology of Learning examines the principles, processes and mechanisms by which organisms acquire information about the world, and translate that information into action. The subject critically examines (1) the major theories of learning, (2) the empirical support for these theories, (3) the application of learning principles to the development, maintenance and treatment of human behavioural psychopathology, and (4) the neural and molecular mechanisms which subserve learning. This subject will enable students to think critically and to generate and evaluate complex ideas about learning theories. 

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
DistanceBathurst Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PSY468
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Psychology

Assumed Knowledge

PSY451 and (PSY452 or PSY453 or PSY454 or PSY458)

Enrolment restrictions

Students may not complete PSY468 and PSY308 in the same award.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to differentiate between innate (fixed) and acquired (flexible) behaviour patterns
  • be able to discuss the different dimensions that may influence behaviour (e.g. environment, cognition, neural mechanisms, adaptiveness)
  • be able to recognize how the mechanisms of normal behaviour are important for developing theories of psychopathology
  • be able to demonstrate practical skills in some of the research methods used in learning (e.g. experimental method, N = 1 designs)
  • be able to explain the way that learning contributes to attitudes, cognition, emotion and behaviour
  • be able to apply learning theory to modify one of: attitudes; cognition; emotion; or behaviour
  • be able to demonstrate advanced communication skills to evaluate learning theories from a user's perspective


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Evolution of behaviour and learning
  • Animal Research and the Ethics of the use of animals in research
  • Contemporary Models of Pavlovian learning
  • Contingency theory and the Rescorla-Wagner Model
  • Contingency theory beyond Rescorla-Wagner (Attentional Models)
  • Beyond contingency theories (e.g., comparator theories, interference theories)
  • Neurobiological evidence for contemporary Pavlovian learning
  • Psychophysiology and human conditioning
  • The neural mechanisms of attention, learning and memory
  • Learning in artificial neural networks
  • Perception and perceptual learning in humans
  • Conditioned hypoalgesia and immunomodulation
  • Conditioning factors in drug dependence


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.