About the Australian Learning Group (ALG)

The core interest of the ALG is the study of basic principles of learning and behaviour in humans and other animals. ALG members have a common interest in understanding theoretical and physiological mechanisms responsible for learning and behaviour. The group's dominant research focus is on associative learning and conditioning, though other interests as far ranging as behavioural neuroscience, ethology, comparative cognition, reasoning and human cognition also have a strong influence. The primary objective of the ALG is to facilitate communication of ideas and research relevant to these interests.

ALG History

In 1989 psychologists from the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and Macquarie University, with an active interest in the study of learning and its applications began to meet fortnightly to discuss their current research and ideas of mutual interest. They were joined occasionally by researchers from such institutions as the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and the CSIRO Sensory Research Centre, and also by members of psychology departments outside the Sydney region, such as the University of Newcastle.

The name Australian Learning Group (ALG) was subsequently adopted. From its beginning, the ALG has gained from the contributions of distinguished researchers from several other Australian universities, although its activities have remained centred in the Sydney region since this is where the greatest concentration of work in this field of psychology has remained.

ALG Meetings

The ALG holds occasional colloquium talks by visitors and local researchers. These meetings provide a fairly unique opportunity for researchers to talk about their research in an informal setting that encourages in-depth discussion. The meetings are attended mainly by psychology staff and students from the University of Sydney, UNSW, and other institutions in the Sydney region but all interested parties are welcome. Speakers from all stages of their research careers are welcome, including distinguished visitors and graduate students. Talks can encompass any topic to do with learning and behaviour in humans or animals. Meetings are currently based at the School of Psychology, UNSW.

A record of past speakers and schedule for upcoming meetings can be found here.

Workshops & Conferences

The ALG also periodically holds workshops and conferences to bring together a larger array of research interests in a more conventional conference style. The ALG Winter Workshop (held in late June / early July) and Christmas workshop (held in early December) are the most regular of these events. The Christmas workshop is one day conference typically hosted by UNSW or the University of Sydney, and usually includes talks from both research students and staff. The winter workshop is a larger 2-3 day conference. The ALG also occasionally organises larger international conferences. These have included three Magnetic Island conferences held in 1996, 2001, and 2006, and a Darwin conference in 2010. These conferences have been very successful in bringing together Australian learning researchers and have also been well attended by international speakers. Not surprisingly, they have covered a wide range of topics in learning and behaviour.

Suggestions for future ALG special events are welcome!

Mailing List

The mailing list is available to anyone interested, although it is intended primarily for Australian psychologists at the present time. Subscribers to the mailing list receive announcements about ALG meetings and other upcoming events (such as conferences), and can distribute/receive information to/from other subscribers.

Click here for more information and subscription instructions

Members of the ALG:

The Australian Learning Group proudly comprises members from a diverse range of backgrounds and with equally diverse interests within (and without!) the field of learning. Note that for an up-to-date listing of members' email addresses, you can email the list server - see Mailing List Information above for instructions.

Additional contact details:

In case you have any other enquiries about the ALG and its activities...

University of Sydney contact:
Ben Colagiuri
School of Psychology
University of Sydney

University of New South Wales contact:
Oren Griffiths
School of Psychology
University of New South Wales