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Module PPP-1007:
Learning to be Happy

Module Facts

Run by School of Psychology

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Rebecca Sharp

Overall aims and purpose

How do we learn and change our behavior over time? How do we understand behavior, observe and measure it? Why do some individuals learn to be more resilient in the face of life’s challenges than others? How can we learn to enhance our personal strengths, maximise our well-being, and improve our own quality of life – or that of others? The course will focus on aspects of learning and behavioural psychology including: antecedents and consequences, schedules of reinforcement, self-management, habits, gamification, and understanding why people engage in deviant behaviour.

Course content

This module introduces the field of behaviour analysis and considers the potential value of understanding the role of learning in happiness. Understanding and facilitating happiness and quality of life is the central objective of many areas of psychology and can be best achieved through an analysis of behavior. It is both a scientific exercise - understanding happiness and predicting the factors that influence happiness - and an applied exercise - enhancing subjective well-being and happiness in clinical and commercial settings - and the world at large. Behaviour analysis and behavior change can provide pointers of how to face the world in a positive manner and to avoid life's ills.

Assessment Criteria


Comprehensive and accurate coverage of the area. Clarity of argument and expression. Depth of insight into theorectical issues.


Adequate answer to the questions, largely based on lecture material. No real development of arguments.


Reasonably comprehensive coverage. Well organised and structured. Good understanding of the material.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and procedures of behaviour.

  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how behavioural principles have been and can be applied to improve quality of life.

  3. Describe behavioural methods of measurement and success.

  4. Understand how the findings from research can be applied in a variety of real-world domains including clinical settings.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Written assignment, including essay Assignment 50
EXAM Final Exam 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Two hour lecture each week.

Private study 70

One hour tutorial each week, including interactive activities, question time with students, and discussion.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
  • Communicate psychological concepts effectively in written form.
  • Be computer literate for the purpose of processing and disseminating psychological data and information.
  • Retrieve and organise information effectively.
  • Handle primary source material critically.
  • Be sensitive and react appropriately to contextual and interpersonal psychological factors.
  • Use effectively personal planning and project management skills.
  • Work effectively under pressure (time pressure, limited resources, etc) as independent and pragmatic learners.
  • Problem-solve by clarifying questions, considering alternative solutions, making critical judgements, and evaluating outcomes.
  • Reason scientifically and demonstrate the relationship between theory and evidence.
  • Carry out empirical studies by operationalizing research questions, generating hypotheses, collecting data using a variety of methods, analysing data using quantitative and/or qualitative methods, and present and evaluate research findings (under appropriate supervision).
  • Comprehend and use psychological data effectively, demonstrating a systematic knowledge of the application and limitations of various research paradigms and techniques.


Talis Reading list

Reading list

The key text from which many readings will be taken is:

Miltenberger, R. G. (2007). Behaviour Modification: Principles and Procedures. (any edition). Wadsworth.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: