School of Psychology
Birkbeck College

Course PSYC044U: Psychobiology II
(formerly with the title "Adaptive learning and comparative cognition")

Summer Reading List

Course Organiser: Dr Stephen Walker 

This course will run for 13 weeks, on Thursdays from January 25th until May 17th, 2007

Scope (from Course Notes)

“Interactions between mechanisms for innate and acquired knowledge in human and animal psychology: basic learning paradigms; computational theories of adaptive learning; incentive-based and anxiety-based motivation; animal and machine models for perception, memory and inference.”
Summer Preparation
If you wish, you could prepare for this course by reading from one of the books given below. More detailed readings, topics for essays, course notes and handouts for the lecture series were available on the intranet starting at — You can get to this by starting a browser on any of the machines in the Department, Library or College computer rooms but for remote access you will require a password unless you are using the Birkbeck vpn.

There is no single textbook that covers all the material referred to in lectures. Recent texts which cover some of lecture material include Pearce (1997) and Lieberman (1990; 2nd Edition 1993; 3rd Edition 2000). Lieberman (2000) is the closest text available in bookshops. About half of the course material is covered in my Animal Learning (1987) which is no longer in print, but which is still available in Birkbeck’s library. (Some material from it is also available on the intranet) There will be additional content not in the standard texts especially at the beginning and end of the course, and course handouts will include references to more recent material. A more introductory treatment of some topics is given in the first five chapters of Learning Theory and Behaviour Modification (1984) which is also available in Birkbeck and other libraries, but is not available for purchase. [Material from this book is however available in electronic form.]

If you do not do any reading this summer but intend to purchase a text book eventually, it would be a good idea to buy it now (or order it) since there may be problems of availability at Waterstones.

Useful textbooks

Lieberman, D. (1990, 1993, or 2000) Learning: Behavior and Cognition. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Editions. Belmont: Wadsworth. (for the 2000 edition, 1x1wk loan, 3x3wk loan and 1xShort Loan at BK (153.1526 LIE); two copies at UCL -Bloomsbury Science Library - at G 50 Lie and one at Senate House, 67 IFI/Lie).

Walker, S.F. (1987) Animal Learning: An Introduction. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London. (5x3 wk, 1x1 wk, 1xShort Loan IAV [Wal] and 156.315 WAL) | online content

Other source books

Davey. G. (1989) Ecological Learning Theory. London: Routledge. (1xShort Loan IAW [Dav])

Mackintosh, N.J. (1983) Conditioning and Associative Learning. Clarendon Press: Oxford. (1xShort Loan IAW [Mac]

Pearce J.M. (1997) Animal Learning and Cognition 2nd Edition. Hove: Psychology Press. (1x3 wk, 3x1 wk and 2xShort Loan 156.315 PEA)

Roberts, W.A (1998) Principles of Animal Cognition. Boston: McGraw- Hill. (2x3 wk, 2x1 wk and 1xShort Loan 156.315 ROB)

Walker, S.F. (1983/1985) Animal Thought. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London. (2x1 wk, 2xShort Loan IAV [Wal])

Walker, S.F. (1984) Learning Theory and Behaviour Modification. Methuen: London. (5x3 wk, 1x1 wk, 1xShort Loan IFI [Wal] and 153.15 WAL) [online materials from this]

SFW July 2006