Jan De Houwer

All living species, from primary germs to complex humans, share learning. But, exactly, what is learning? What’s more, how does it work? Psychologists have been debating similar issues for over a century. Behavior analysts looked at how the environment influences behavior, whereas cognitive scientists looked into the brain processes to learn. The essential results and fundamental insights from both functional (behavior analysis) and cognitive techniques are combined in this book to introduce the psychology of learning.

Following an introduction, the book discusses research that shows how seemingly minor changes in the environment can lead to significant behavioral changes, ranging from habituation and classical conditioning to operant conditioning effects. It introduces the concept of complex learning and discusses the possibility that even seemingly simple types of learning can qualify as complicated learning for vocal humans. Finally, it provides numerous examples of how learning psychology research is being applied to improve human well-being and address social issues such as climate change.

The boxed text discusses selected themes throughout the book, and “think it through” questions help readers better understand what they’ve read. The book can be used as an introductory textbook on learning psychology for undergraduate and graduate students and a reference for behavior and thinking researchers.