Dr Shane McLoughlin BSc, FHEA, PhD

Dr Shane McLoughlin

School of Education

Contact details

Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
Room 125
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Shane McLoughlin is a Lecturer in Character Education at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. On the MA in Character Education, he is Module Lead for Character Education Interventions in Schools and Organisations and Research Methods in Character Education. His research interests broadly involve designing and testing interventions aimed at helping people to (i) clarify their values and (ii) engage in valued actions with the end goal of promoting psychological flourishing. He specialises in psychometric measurement, quantitative assessment of intervention efficacy, meaning-focussed behaviour therapies (eg Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Behavioural Activation), and individual differences (eg personality). He is a recipient of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science Early Career Mentorship Award (2021) based on his contributions to behavioural science and its applications in meaning-focused psychotherapies.


  • PhD in Psychology
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • BSc (Hons) in Applied Psychology


After finishing his undergraduate degree in Ireland, Shane McLoughlin began his academic career in 2012, researching in experimental behavioural psychology (National University of Ireland, Galway) working alongside Dr Ian Stewart while also working full time as a behaviour analyst in a school for children with autism and complex needs in Dublin.

In 2015, he moved from Ireland to the UK and began his PhD at the University of Chichester after being awarded a bursary. There, he tested the effects of a relational reasoning training programme on children’s cognitive ability and academic attainment, supervised by Dr Ian Tyndall. During this period, he also taught on a range of modules across their British Psychological Society accredited undergraduate psychology degree, ranked in The Guardian League Tables for Psychology (2017-19) as the best for “value added” to each student during this period (academic years 2015-16 through 2017-18).

In 2018, Shane joined the University of Chester as a Lecturer in Applied Psychology where he taught across several undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and was an active member of the Centre for Contextual Behavioural Science. In 2019, Shane joined Liverpool John Moores University as a Lecturer in Psychology. There he also taught across several undergraduate and postgraduate programmes while researching within the School of Psychology’s Suicide and Self-Harm Research Group.

Shane joined the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues within the School of Education at the University of Birmingham in 2021. Shane is the Research Methods in Character Education and Character Education Interventions in Schools and Organizations Module Lead on the MA in Character Education, and also teaches across a range of other modules. At the Jubilee Centre, Shane pursues a research programme on the active processes within meaning-focused psychotherapies (eg Logotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). These projects include developing evidence-based tools for helping people to clarify what is important to them in life, investigating the effects of meaning/values on well-being, psychometric test development and validation, and a range of other projects relating to character and virtue development and eudaimonic flourishing.

Shane has been an active member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) since 2012, maintaining research interests in Relational Frame Theory, Applied Behaviour Analysis, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Behavioral Activation Therapy, and Process-Based Therapy. In 2021, ACBS awarded him with the Early Career Mentorship Award in recognition of his contributions to the organization. As an awardee, he will work with a senior professor in this research area (Prof Todd Kashdan; George Mason University, US).


MA in Character Education:

  • Theories of Character, Virtues, and Flourishing
  • Research Methods in Character Education (Module Lead)
  • History and Politics of Character Education
  • Interventions in Character Education (Module Lead)
  • Leadership in Character Education
  • Dissertation

Postgraduate supervision

MA Character Education dissertations on:

  • Virtue development
  • Well-being
  • Psychometric validation
  • Intervention designs


Research interests

  • Character Education
  • Psychometrics
  • Mechanisms of action in meaning-focused psychotherapies
  • Learning science
  • Operant conditioning
  • Experimental psychology

Other activities

Founding Officer of the Contextual Philosophy of Science SIG at the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science


Hochard, K. D., Hulbert-Williams, L., Ashcroft, S., & McLoughlin, S. (2021), Acceptance and values clarification versus cognitive restructuring and relaxation: A randomized controlled trial of ultra-brief non-expert-delivered coaching interventions for social resilience, Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, July 2021: 12-21.

Chopra, J., Ashworth, E., Saini, P., Putwain, D. W., McLoughlin, S., Kirkby, J., Eames, C., Hunt, A., & Duffy, K. (2021), Adolescents’ Lockdown-Induced Coping Experiences (ALICE) study: A qualitative exploration of early adolescents’ experiences of lockdown and reintegration, The Journal of Early Adolescence.

McLoughlin, S., Tyndall, I., & Pereira, A. (2020), Convergence of multiple fields on a relational reasoning approach to cognition, Intelligence, 83: 101491.

McLoughlin, S., Tyndall, I., Pereira, A., & Mulhern, T. (2020), Non-Verbal IQ gains from relational operant training explain variance in educational attainment: An active-controlled feasibility study, Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, 5: 35-50.

Stewart, I., McLoughlin, S., Mulhern, T., Ming, S., & Kirsten, E. (2020), “Assessing and teaching complex relational operants: Analogy and hierarchy”. In: Fryling, M., Rehfeldt, R.A., Tarbox, J., & Hayes, L. J. (eds.) Applied Behavior Analysis of Language and Cogntion. New Harbinger: Context Press, pp. 198-213.

McLoughlin, S., Tyndall, I., & Pereira, A. (2020), Relational operant skills training increases standardized matrices scores in adolescents: A stratified active-controlled trial, Journal of Behavioral Education.

McLoughlin, S., Tyndall, I., Mulhern, T., & Ashcroft, S. (2020), Technical notation as a tool for basic research in Relational Frame Theory, The Psychological Record, 69: 437-444.

Gladwin, T. E., Möbius, M., McLoughlin, S., & Tyndall, I. (2019), Anticipatory versus reactive spatial attentional bias to threat, British Journal of Psychology, 110: 3-14.

View all publications in research portal