The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Psychologists have long abandoned the idea that our perceptions are simply an internal "picture" of the world. But there is no consensus on how our mind interprets the world. The first half of this course examines evidence for and against various theories of perception. Along the way we will examine key areas of research that have influenced the field over the last century. The second part of the course examines the other historically dominant field in psychology: Learning. From Pavlov's early work through to modern approaches to cognition, we again focus on the approaches and theories that drive the research. This coverage of "Behaviourism" provides a core foundation for further study in applications of Cognitive - Behavioural therapy.

This course forms part of an Australian Psychology Accreditation Council's accredited sequence.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019


  • Semester 1 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. demonstrate an understanding of the empirical and theoretical issues in the contemporary study of associative learning and perception

2. place the study of learning and perception in an appropriate historical context

3. illustrate its present relevance for psychology by having developed an appreciation of the importance of associative learning for other areas of the discipline, particularly for the aetiology of clinical/treatment procedures

4. demonstrate an appreciation of the complexity of psychology with potentially a desire to contribute towards the resolution of some issues

5. demonstrate an understanding of the principles by which behaviour is governed by having worked with theories through hypothesis generation, simulation, and empirical testing.


The areas of perception and learning have strong foundations in structural methodology to test broad theories. Dominant theories in each area will be examined and the empirical evidence for each theory evaluated.

The study of perception will focus on bottom up vs top down theories as well as looking at the similarities of some of the major bottom up theories (feature detection, spatial frequency channels, computation and structural).

The study of learning will focus on the methodologies used to test theories of Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning.

PSYC3301 provides an examination of contemporary theories of perception and learning and seeks to demonstrate how these theories may be used in applied and clinical situations.

Related courses: PSYC3300, PSYC3400, PSYC3501

Assumed knowledge

Students considering enrolling in this 3000 level course should have successfully completed all the first year units and at least half the second year units of the degree program in which they are enrolled, in order to have sufficient requisite knowledge, understanding and generic skills.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Written report(s)

Formal Examination: Formal examination

Quiz: Online Quiz

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks

See course outline for lab schedule


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term