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Cognition and Development – Behaviourist Learning Theories

1. Learning and Development

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In this lecture, we think about what learning and development is, focusing in particular on: (i) defining development as the growth and change within an individual; (ii) the three types of development as cognitive, physiological and social; (iii) the definition of learning as a permanent or long-term change to our behaviour, feelings or thoughts as a result of experience; (iv) examples of development which don’t constitute learning, e.g. wearing glasses as eyesight deteriorates; (v) differentiating behaviourism from other forms of psychology, including through its sole focus on behaviour, rather than mental processes; (vi) some key assumptions made by behaviourists about learning.


In this course, Dr Cathal O’Siochru (Liverpool Hope University) explores behaviourist learning theories in the context of growth and development. In the first lecture, we think about what learning and development is and how it relates to behaviourism. In the second lecture, we think about classical conditioning as the original behaviourist theory. In the third lecture, we think about operant conditioning, which was the focus of much of B. F. Skinner’s research. Next, we think about learning through observation, with a specific note toward Bandura’s ‘bobo doll experiments’ in the 1960’s. In the fifth and final lecture, we think about self-efficacy and the role it plays in all forms of behavioural reproduction.


Dr Cathal O’Siochru is a senior lecturer in education studies at Liverpool Hope University and has a background in psychology, research methods and education. Dr O’Siochru’s research interests include the psychology of education, epistemological and pedagogical beliefs, and assessment practices. Some of Dr O’Siochru’s recent publications include 'Action learning: how can it contribute to a collaborative process of pedagogical action research?' (2020) and 'Academic perspectives of metrics: Procedural justice as a key factor in evaluations of fairness' (2019).

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APA style

O'Siochru, C. (2022, April 20). Cognition and Development – Behaviourist Learning Theories - Learning and Development [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Siochru, C. "Cognition and Development – Behaviourist Learning Theories – Learning and Development." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Apr 2022,

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