PSYCHOL 3026 - Learning and Behaviour

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

This course provides students with an intermediate and advanced understanding of the theoretical principles of learning theory. It examines the different ways in which these principles have been conceptualised by researchers, the experimental evidence in support of learning principles, the links and differences between animal and human learning and the ways in which these principles can be applied to human behaviour. There is a focus on the role of both the environment and evolution in the derivation of behaviour and human principles as well as a balance between the analysis of behaviour as an experimental and applied phenomenon. Students will be shown how these principles are applied in the fields of clinical psychology and marketing and other areas.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 3026
    Course Learning and Behaviour
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Prerequisites PSYCHOL 2004, PSYCHOL 2005, PSYCHOL 2006 and PSYCHOL 2007
    Incompatible PSYCHOL 3013
    Assessment Practical report, online quiz, written exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Irina Baetu

    Course Coordinator:
    Dr Irina Baetu: Ph - +61 8313 6102; Email -

    School of Psychology Office:

    Ph - +61 8313 5693; Email -

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1.    Comprehend learning phenomena and current associative theories.
    2.    Understand the logic behind experimental designs and how they test various theories.
    3.    Understand the clinical applications of research in the field of learning.
    4.    Develop critical thinking skills.
    5.    Practice communicating experimental results in a written report in a concise and clear manner.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-3, 5
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 4,5
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2-4
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4,5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 4,5
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-4
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    For additional information regarding required resources please refer to the relevant Program Handbook at the following link:
    Recommended Resources
    Bouton, M. E. (2007). Learning and Behavior: A Contemporary Synthesis. Sunderland, MA:  Sinauer Associates, Inc.
    Dougher, M. J., Ed. (1999). Clinical Behavior Analysis. Reno, NV: Context Press
    Mazur, J.E. (6th ed, 1998). Learning and behavior,  NJ:  Prentice Hall.      
    Ramnero, J., & Törneke, N. (2008). ABCs of human behavior: Behavioral principles for the practicing clinician. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger & Reno, NV: Context Press.

    Barr Smith Library – Psychology on the Web
    The Library is a major resource centre for students. The Research Librarian for Psychology, Maureen Bell, provides some useful information through the Internet at The website contains a list of databases, links to tutorials and help with searching methods.

    For additional information regarding recommended resources please refer to the relevant Psychology Program Handbook and the General Handbook for Undergraduate Psychology students (available at the link below):
    Online Learning
    Students are required to access MyUni regularly. In addition to containing course materials, important notices and information regarding the course will also be placed on MyUni. MyUni also contains Discussion Boards, and students are encouraged to use these to discuss aspects of the course or any concerns they have.

    Student email
    MyUni also allows staff and other students to send emails to student addresses. It is important that students check their student email regularly.

    This course may also use MyUni for one or more of the following:
    •    Communication with students via Announcements and Discussion Board
    •    Submission of summative assessment
    •    Access to lecture recordings
    •    Access to tutorial materials
    •    Additional readings
    •    Self-directed learning activities
    •    Exam preparation materials

    Link to MyUni:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be delivered through the following means:

    Internal only:

    2 Lectures of 1 hour duration each week for a 12-week semester
    4 Tutorials
    1 online quiz
    1 Practical exercise
    1 Final exam

    The course will not be available externally, although lecture notes can be accessed remotely for students who cannot attend every lecture. Lecture attendance will be expected for successful completion of the course.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Lectures: 23 x 1 hour = 23 hours
    Tutorials: 4 x 1 hour = 4 hours
    Online quiz and preparation: 14 hours
    Practical preparation: 50 hours
    Exam preparation: 50.5 hours
    Exam: 2.5 hours

    Total: 144 hours
    Learning Activities Summary

    Week Monday Lecture Thursday Lecture
    Week  1 Introduction Innate vs. learned behaviours
    Week 2 Public holiday Innate vs. learned behaviours
    Week 3 Pavlov, Thorndike Guthrie, Tolman
    Week 4 Hull, Spence Rescorla-Wagner model
    Week 5 Learning in the brain Practical briefing
    Week 6 Attention theories Occasion setting
    Week 7 Causal reasoning Causal reasoning
    Week 8 Avoidance, learned helplessness Clinical applications I
    Week 9 Practical consulting Clinical applications II
    Week 10 Clinical applications III Clinical applications IV
    Week 11 Neuroplasticity in health and disease I Neuroplasticity in health and disease II
    Week 12 Neuroplasticity in health and disease III Exam revision

    Disclaimer: This program is provisional and subject to change.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning outcome(s) being addressed
    Tutorial attendance Summative 5% 3,4
    Online quiz Summative 10% 1
    Practical report Summative 40% 2,4,5
    Final exam Summative 45% 1-3
    Assessment Detail
    Tutorial attendance
    Students are required to attend tutorials. The tutors will record attendance.

    Online quiz
    A short assessment exercise will occur at the approximate midpoint of the course. This will take the form of an online quiz on MyUni for which students will receive feedback.

    Practical report
    The practical report will be briefed in week 5. Students will have sufficient time to comprehend the experimental design and the results, and write the report. The practical report will be due in week 10.

    Final exam
    The examination will assess all of the course material covered in the lectures, but students will have an opportunity to select questions from a choice of options so that they can focus on their strengths and areas of interest. The examination will be 2.5 hours, and include multiple-choice questions, short answers and essays. The examination will occur in the usual University examination period.

    For additional information regarding assessment please refer to the relevant Psychology Program Handbook and the General Handbook for Undergraduate Psychology students (available at the link below): 

    Submission dates for all assessment tasks will be on MyUni. The online quiz will be completed online on MyUni. The practical report will be submitted to the main office of the School of Psychology (Hughes building, Level 4).

    Please refer to the General Handbook for Undergraduate Psychology students (available at the link below) for details on submission process/requirements, penalties for late submission, the process of applying for extensions, and the staff “turn-around” timeline on assessments and the provision of feedback and policy relating to re-submission/redemptive work.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.