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Cognition and Development – Behaviourist Learning Theories

5. Self-Efficacy

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In this lecture, we think about self-efficacy, focusing in particular on: (i) key challenges which are accounted for when recreating another person’s behaviour; (ii) self-efficacy as the belief in yourself that, if you replicate another’s behaviour, you will gain the same level of success as them; (iii) differentiating self-efficacy from self-esteem by considering the latter as a global aspect, whereas the former is specific to individual tasks and abilities; (iv) the positive impact on self-efficacy that positive learning experiences can have; (v) the promotion of self-efficacy in education, including through observing representative role models being successful and receiving tailored feedback.


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

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

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