This chapter explains the neuroscience of learning and its relation to rewards and expectations. Learning is defined as changing behaviour and thinking based on the consequences of actions. Our understanding of learning is tracked from classical conditioning and Ivan Pavlov’s experiments in 1904 to our nuanced understanding of the present day.

The role of dopamine in learning and pleasure is explained and how it modulates our expectations through the mesolimbic and mesocortical pathways. The role of dopamine in wanting is explained. How dopamine generates the prediction error that allows us to manage our learning and expectations is discussed.

The implications for happiness are explored, and the importance of focusing on the journey rather than the destination in goal setting is emphasised.

Management by expectation and management by agreement are examined in the light of neuroscience.

Behavioural addictions are seen as a form of learning, and their role in coaching is discussed.

The importance of the connections between the reward centres of the brain and the prefrontal cortex is highlighted, so there is some cognitive control.