PSY308 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 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.


Session 1 (30)
Bathurst Campus
Session 2 (60)
On Campus
Bathurst Campus
Port Macquarie Campus
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PSY308. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Psychology

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students that have completed PSY207 Psychology of Learning or PSY308 Behavioural Neuroscience 2

Assumed Knowledge

PSY201 and (PSY202 or PSY203 or PSY204 or PSY208)

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.


This 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


For further information about courses and subjects outlined in the CSU handbook please contact:

Current students

Future students

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2019. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.