Learning and Behaviour
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-PSB2SP55E
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Psychology;
dr. J.H.R. Maes
Other course modules lecturer
dr. J.H.R. Maes
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. J.H.R. Maes
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. M. Rinck
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2018
PER3  (04/02/2019 to 14/04/2019)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:
  1. Indicate conditions under which learning processes and accompanying adaptive and pathological behavioural changes operate. (FQ 1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.4)
  2. Offer and evaluate different theoretical explanations (neurobiological, individual and/or social-cultural) for the appearance or absence of learning processes and accompanying adaptive and pathological behavioural changes. (FQ 1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.4, 5.2)
  3. Analyse practical situations in terms of factors which cause new adaptive and pathological behaviour to arise and be maintained, by using empirical and theoretical knowledge about learning processes. (FQ 1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.4, 5.1)
  4. Give specific advice in practical situations for the inhibition of undesired behaviour and the promotion of desired behaviour, by using empirical and theoretical knowledge about learning processes. (FQ 1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 3.4, 3.7, 5.1, 6.3)
  5. Systematically analyse a learning-related question of your choice, using neurobiological, individual and/or social-cultural theoretical perspectives (a combination of at least two) and providing a theoretically supported solution based on principles from the psychology of learning. (FQ 1.2, 1.5, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.6, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 5.1, 6.3)
  6. Present a well-structured and convincing recommendation for your case. (FQ 5.4, 5.5)
The central nervous system, which regulates human and animal behaviour on the basis of information from the environment and the organism itself, is characterised by plasticity. Under certain circumstances, repeated experience with a situation and the consequences of one’s own behaviour can lead to changes in the organisation of the central nervous system, and thereby to behaviour changes. These changes are the visible result of learning processes that were triggered by these experiences.
The nature of these changes and the conditions under which they emerge have been exhaustively researched over the last 100 years in experiments on humans and animals and form the empirical basis of the psychology of learning. However, there are highly divergent ideas about the nature of the underlying learning processes; these form the theoretical framework of learning psychology.
This course covers the main empirical discoveries, theoretical perspectives and levels of explanation, including behavioural, cognitive and clinical angles.
At the same time, we extensively discuss practical applications of these perspectives in daily life, as well as dealing with and treating varied patient populations.
On the basis of this empirical and theoretical knowledge, the student will be able upon completion of this course to understand how learning gives rise to and maintains desired or undesired behaviour, and how behaviour can be modified through learning, in both therapeutic and non-therapeutic contexts.

Exam information
• Written examination with open questions
• Presentation of a recommendation/ intervention
Additional comments
Specialty Courses are admissible for Psychology students only. Further information: see Course enrolment in the General Information section.

• Psychology students who are admitted to the second year (B2)
• The course may only be taken by Psychology students
• The course cannot be taken as contract education.

Required materials
Klein, S.B. (2014). Learning. Principles and applications (7th edition). Sage: Los Angeles.
Supplementary literature.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Question-and-answer seminars

Attendance MandatoryYes

Attendance mandatory on day of presentation

Open answer questions
Test weight80
Test typeExam
OpportunitiesBlock PER3, Block PER4

Test weight20
Test typePresentation
OpportunitiesBlock PER3