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Most scholars agree that cognitive development is closely linked both to the physical-motor that to the emotional and social development of the child. Despite these ties, there are also processes that characterize cognitive development.
John Watson is considered the founder of behaviorism. In 1913 he wrote " psychology from the behavioral point of view ", in this work he promoted a new method for the study of psychological phenomena, or observation and scientific and objective analysis of the overt behaviors. Furthermore, according to Watson, psychology should not deal with the mental processes can not be modified, but instead must use the "method of the natural sciences" and consider only the data to control. With regard to conditioning Watson refers to the experiments of the Russian Ivan Patolav and concludes that "learning by conditioning is nothing more than the association of a stimulus to its reply" in fact Paul V combines hunger sound of a bell (stimulus neutral) and notes that after salivating dog increases the sound of the bell. This experiment called "classical conditioning" shows how it is possible to condition a reflex response.

Subsequently to Watson, Skinner furthered the study of Operant conditioning, in which the subject produces a response found in the environment. He conducted an experiment, known as "Skinner Box" in which there is a cage with a lever in its interior, and the mouse locked in it learns to operate the lever to get the food. Skinner indicates the importance of the reinforcement, which can be positive, reward, or negative, end of a pleasant feeling. The reinforcement can also consist of a good grade, praise, etc. compensation. based learning reinforcement allows the child to learn certain actions to get parental approval.

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