Skip to main content
Department ofPsychology

Barbara O'Brien

Barbara O'Brien

Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer


My research reflects my interest in how cognitive development occurs and is influenced by collaboration with others. With a focus on children’s memory and literacy skill development, my work bridges basic research and applied issues as it is designed to identify how knowledge and skill develop through the impact of social interaction.  I also explore this issue in my research on parent-child book reading, in which I have taken a detailed look at child and family factors that contribute to literacy skill development. In the future, I would like to extend these efforts through interventions, which are geared toward not only influencing children’s growth, but also increasing parental awareness of how they may directly influence their children’s development.

Recently, I have been collaborating with Dr. Laura Doyle in the School of Engineering. Specifically, bringing her expertise in STEM education pedagogy and my expertise in cognitive development together, we seek to use Ignatian pedagogy to advance the long-term impact of STEM experiences to elementary and middle-schools by (a) creating mobile engineering design opportunities that leverage the impact of informal learning contexts through an emphasis on empathy, social justice, human centered design; (b) include high school students as guides for the program to increase their own exposure to STEM and serve as role models for elementary school participants; and (c) bridge connections between classroom and informal learning to school families and communities in need.

  • CHST 6: Information Literacy
  • CHST 11: Quantitative Research Methods and Statistics
  • CHST 12: Qualitative Research Methods and Statistics
  • CHST 100: Advanced Writing for Research in the Social Sciences
  • CHST 104: Child Advocacy
  • CHST 114: Parenting
  • CHST 181: Senior Capstone I
  • CHST 182: Senior Capstone II
  • PSYC 1: General Psychology I
  • PSYC 2: General Psychology II
  • PSYC 160: Personality and Affective Science
  • PSYC 172: Adolescent Development
  • PSYC 185: Developmental Psychology