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.


Session 1 (30)
Bathurst 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

Grading System



One session


School of Psychology

Enrolment Restrictions

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

Assumed Knowledge

PSY451 and (PSY452 or PSY453 or PSY454 or PSY458)

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


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

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of PSY468 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Online test
Online journal
Research report
Final exam

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.