Available in 2022
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 exactly how we maintain perceptual contact with the world. This course examines evidence for and against various theories of perception, addressing the question of how perception is organised. It links research on perceptual phenomena, research on pathways in the brain, and neuropsychology case studies, allowing students to see the importance of a relevant understanding of perceptual processes for both the psychology discipline and professional practice. Reading and language disorders are examined from both a clinical and a research perspective. The course also considers the other historically dominant field in psychology: learning. From Thorndike’s, Skinner’s and Pavlov's early work through to cognitive explanations of learning, we again focus on the experiments and theories that underpin our understanding of how humans learn. The course’s coverage of associative learning provides a core foundation for further study in applications of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Related courses: PSYC2300 and PSYC2400

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

Availability2022 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2022


  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Integrate evidence from perception research and neuropsychological case studies to evaluate theories of perception.

2. Integrate evidence from language research and language disorders to understand human language.

3. Explain the empirical and theoretical issues in the contemporary study of associative learning.

4. Explain the importance of associative learning for the aetiology of clinical/treatment procedures.

5. Integrate and explain how the principles of learning and perception are investigated and applied by generating and testing hypotheses.


  • Historical background of theories of learning and perception
  • Contemporary theories of perception and learning and how these theories may be used in applied and clinical situations
  • How information that is extracted by different brain regions results in our unified perceptual experience
  • Examining perceptual neuropsychology case studies, revealing the function of our perceptual systems
  • Human language perception and production systems
  • How language dysfunctions and disorders facilitate our understanding of human language
  • Theories and experimental phenomena of Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning, and their modern, real-world applications.   

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 knowledge, understanding and generic skills.

Assessment items

Report: Written Assignment 1

Report: Written Assignment 2

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

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

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.