PSYCH 751A/B : ABA: Concepts and Principles


2023 Semester One (1233) / Semester Two (1235) (30 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A study of the techniques and issues involved with modifying an individual human or animal's behaviour in some applied setting. Appropriate and effective applications of scientific principles of learning will be taught, as will pertinent topics researched in the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour. Topics will include the application of research into associative learning, reinforcement, punishment, extinction, avoidance, stimulus control and choice.

Course Overview

PSYCH 751  is recommended to be taken in conjunction with PSYCH 750. In PSYCH 751 we focus on the concepts and principles that underpin the assessments and interventions conducted by behaviour analysts. 

Course Requirements

To complete this course students must enrol in PSYCH 751 A and B

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and apply a variety of methods to assess preferences and reinforcers for individuals. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  2. Describe and explain how various basic principles and phenomena from operant and respondent underpins behavioural interventions. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  3. Discuss and critically evaluate the factors that influence the effectiveness and utility of behaviourally defined reinforcement, punishment and extinction. (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Identify and describe how establishing operations, setting events and contextual variables contribute to the control of behaviour and design interventions that use these factors. (Capability 1 and 4)
  5. Compare and contrast discrimination and generalisation with reference to stimulus control and outline how a clinician can obtain each. (Capability 1)
  6. Describe and use a behavior-analytic approach to the assessment and teaching of verbal and rule-governed behavior. (Capability 1 and 4)
  7. Explain and critically evaluate, using evidence based practice, a variety of interventions to prevent or reduce behaviours of concern. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  8. Critically evaluate and explain, using evidence based practice, a variety of interventions to assess and teach behavioural deficits. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Quizzes/self reflection 5% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Coursework
Case Study 25% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Quizzes/self reflection
Final Exam
Case Study
In order for the ABA programme staff to agree to supervise you for Masters you must have at least a B+ in this paper. 


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

This course is supported by the Tuākana in Science Programme, which facilitates the success and wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific students. The foundation of the Tuākana Programme is the Tuākana-Teina principle an integral relationship in which older or more expert Tuākana (traditionally brother, sister or cousin) guides a younger or less expert Teina (traditionally younger sibling or cousin). This is a reciprocal relationship which fosters safe learning and teaching environments. Read more here:

Special Requirements

As part of one of your projects, you have the option of taking part in a practical project in which you work with more senior students to complete an assessment of behavioural deficits and potential reinforcers, and design an intervention for increasing skills. Observation sessions are done onsite in placements around Auckland and the times are negotiated with students.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 30-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 30-point course that they are enrolled in. For this course, you can expect a total of 48 hours of lectures, 100 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 92 hours of work on assignments and/or exam preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • Attendance is required at scheduled activities to complete components of the course.
  • Lectures will not be available as recordings. 
  • The course will not include live online events
  • Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
  • The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

resources are provided on canvas 

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

We continue to adapt based on formative and summative feedback. However, as SET has jsut been released we have not completed the review for 2022

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/11/2022 09:37 a.m.