The Psychology of Learning

An Introduction From a Functional-Cognitive Perspective

Jan De Houwer & Sean Hughes

Click here for a free download of the open acces pdf of the book! (78.8 MB)

Click here to buy a paper copy at the MIT Press website (ISBN9780262539234)

Click here for a free download of the open acces Dutch version of the book!

Click here for powerpoint slides in English

Click here for a talk about the book for an audience of mainly functional researchers.

Welcome to the support page of our book!

Learning unites all living creatures, from simple microbes to complex human beings. But what exactly is learning? And how does it work? For over a century now, psychologists have asked and answered such questions. Some (like behavior analysts) examined the way in which the environment shapes behavior whereas others (like cognitive scientists) have sought to understand the mental processes that enable us to learn. Our book offers an introduction to the psychology of learning that draws on the key findings and major insights from both functional (e.g., behavior analysis) and cognitive approaches. We first provide an in depth discussion of the nature of learning and the way it is studied in psychology. We then review research showing how seemingly simple regularities in the environment lead to powerful changes in behavior, from habituation, and classical conditioning, to operant conditioning effects. Moving beyond the known literature, we introduce the concept of complex learning and consider the idea that, in verbal human beings, even seemingly simple types of learning might qualify as instances of complex learning. Finally, we offer many examples of how psychological research on learning is being used to promote human well-being and alleviate societal problems such as psychological suffering and climate change.

Open access support materials (in Dutch and English)

On this website, we provide supporting materials that readers, students, and teachers can use to better understand the book. Powerpoint files are now available in Dutch and English (thanks to Robert Johansson for making the initial version of the English powerpoint files). All other supporting materials are currently available only in Dutch. However, using tools as Google translate or DeepL, we hope that these documents can also be useful for non-Dutch speakers.

Help us make available additional support materials

If you create your own support materials for your classes on learning, please send them to us so that we can also make them available on this website. Also don't hesitate to contact us if you think we can help you with constructing your course or course materials.