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Course Description

This course provides a detailed description of principles and concepts of learning and motivation, as well as an introduction to their underlying neurobiological mechanisms. Through the examination of empirical evidence in the fields of Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience, this course offers a comprehensive description of the role of conditioning in normal and abnormal behaviours.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Outline how the principles of learning fit into the field of experimental psychology and how research in the field of learning is conducted.
  2. Explain the principles and major theories in classical conditioning.
  3. Outline the principles and major theories in instrumental conditioning.
  4. Assess the basic concepts of stimulus discrimination and generalization as the components contributing to stimulus control.
  5. Explain extinction of conditioned behavior with a critical evaluation of the difference between memory elimination and new learning interfering with original learning.
  6. Describe avoidance and punishment and how these types of Instrumental conditioning control behaviour.
  7. Evaluate comparative cognition in various species of animals.

Course Topics

  • Background and Rationale for the Study of Learning and Behavior
  • Elicited Behavior, Habituation, and Sensitization
  • Classical Conditioning
  • Instrumental Conditioning
  • Stimulus Control of Behavior
  • Extinction of Conditioned Behavior
  • Aversive Control: Avoidance and Punishment
  • Comparative Cognition


Assessment Item Weight
Online Quizzes 10%
Midterm #1 20%
Midterm #2 20%
Written Assignments (2) 15%
Voting Poll 5%
Online Final Exam 30%
Total 100%



Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the following:

  • Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. 

Please view the Technical Considerations.

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Principles of Learning
January 09, 2023 to April 10, 2023
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
Domestic Tuition Fee - Non-Ontario (0.5 units) $713.81 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $3,106.72 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Section Notes
Note: If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above. You must register through WebAdvisor.
Section Materials
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) The Principles of Learning and Behavior by Michael Domjan © 2021 Cengage Learning 7th edition ISBN Paperback: 9780357671016 eBook: 9781305144484
  • e-book (Confirmed) (Mandatory) ISBN 1-Year Access: 9780357694855
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