PSYC2032 Learning and Memory

Bachelor Course Unit


One trimester


2nd year

Credit points:

6 (out of 144)



Mode(s) of delivery:

On-campus and Online Delivery




This second year unit will introduce you to key theories, findings and methodologies in the study of learning and memory in psychology, and combine evidence from the fields of behavioural science, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. It will also look at the clinical applications of learning and memory theory, and consider the cultural and individual differences that contribute to the wealth of human behaviour.

Unit description

This unit explores the major theories of learning and how these theories relate to the
development of new behaviour. A range of learning principles such as reward, punishment, avoidance, and classical conditioning are used to understand and explain psychological problems. Ways of intervening in psychological problems are derived from learning theories and are subsequently explored. Factors affecting memory are explored including the theories of learning and memory in the context of individual differences. Finally, the interaction between learning and memory are examined to determine how psychological difficulties may emerge. The content is covered in weekly 3-hour lectures and online, and through associated reading material. The 1-hour tutorials scheduled throughout the trimester extend the coverage of topics in more detail, engage the students in laboratory work associated with the unit and provide the opportunity for student involvement in discussion.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • Describe major principles of learning and provide examples.
  • Articulate how principles of learning relate to intervention paradigms.
  • Identify a range of individual and cultural differences that impact on learning and memory.
  • Describe key processes involved in memory.
  • Identify the ways in which learning interacts with memory to produce psychological difficulties

Unit content

  • Introduction to learning and memory
  • Classical conditioning and operant conditioning
  • Avoidance, punishment and the applications of learning theory
  • Learning by observation
  • Learning language
  • Implicit learning and learning motor skills
  • Theories of memory
  • Short-term memory and working memory
  • Long term memory - encoding, retrieval and memory loss
  • Individual and cultural differences in learning and memory

Learning and teaching process

This unit comprises 10 weekly 2.5 hour lectures and 9 weekly 1 hour tutorials. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is highly recommended. Lectures will be captured electronically at the time of delivery. These recordings of the slide content and oral presentation will be available for downloading as soon as it is feasible after the lecture.


Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class space.

Recommended text

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the School of Psychological Sciences Textbook List.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of semester.