I approach the study of behavior and its change from a functional-cognitive perspective. In this line of work I examine how antecedents in the environment ‘trigger’, and how consequences can be used to ‘redirect’ that behavior.  

This research line has recently led to:

  • A Learning 2.0 perspective that examines how symbolic and relational abilities guide learning in humans.

  • New perspectives and directions in behavior, attitudes, emotion, applied psychology, and personality research (from a Functional-Cognitive perspective).

  • Discovery of new behavior change pathways and a focus on learning at different levels of analysis (e.g., genetic learning).

  • Application of the Principles of Behavior to behavior change.


De Houwer, J., & Hughes, S. (2020). The Psychology of Learning: An Introduction from a Functional-Cognitive Perspective. The MIT Press.

De Houwer, J., & Hughes, S. (under review). Learning in Individual Organisms, Genes, Machines, and Groups: A New Way of Defining and Relating Learning in Different Systems. Perspectives in Psychological Science.

Van Dessel, P., Hughes, S., & De Houwer, J. (2018). Consequence-Based Approach-Avoidance Training:

A New and Improved Method for Changing Behavior. Psychological Science, 29(12), 1899–1910Link

Hughes, S., & De Houwer, J. Genetic Learning: A New Conceptual Framework For Studying the Impact of the Environment on Changes in Genetic Behavior. Link

Hughes, S., De Houwer, J., & Perugini, P. (2016). The Functional-Cognitive Framework for Psychological Research: Controversies and Resolutions. International Journal of Psychology, 51, 4–14. Link