Bandura's Social Learning Theory

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Bandura (1977) social learning theory suggests “people learn through observation and imitation in social contexts." (Flanagan, Berry, Jarvis &Liddle, 2015, p.108). Also, learn indirectly by vicarious reinforcement. Vicarious reinforcement involves learning by observing rewarded behaviour and imitating it and if behaviour is punished then no imitation. Additionally, there is reciprocal determinism, where along being influenced by our environment, we have some influence on the environment (Bandura, 1977). Imitation is an individual copying behaviour by observing a role model. Whereas identification, is where one takes on the behaviour or beliefs of the role model they identify with. Unlike traditional behaviourist, this theory pays attention…show more content…
Procedure: A sample of 48 boys and 48 girls from Stanford University nursery, from ages of 35-69 months were put into three groups of 24. There was a control group who had no exposure to aggressive role models. The experimental groups observed real-life aggressive model (male or female), whilst the second group observed the same models in film and third group observed an aggressive cartoon character on film. Results: Results showed aggressive role models increase probability subjects respond aggressively later. All experimental groups did not differ but were more aggressive than control. Real life and real film showed imitative and verbal aggression. As for the sex of the model and child in terms of imitation; boys showed more aggression, whereas girls showed less. It is evident when boys observed female model, they had less total aggression, for instance in real life: 76.8 whereas with a male: 131.8. Therefore, sex appropriateness of model behaviours affects social learning too (Bandura et al,…show more content…
As in some countries, like Scandinavian countries, the parents do not use aggression (Scott,1995) as a punishment, thus there is no role model to imitate. Yet children still show some aggression, suggesting aggression is innate and may have evolved. Furthermore, it underestimates the influence of biological factors because they found boys were more aggrieve than girls, despite the conditions. This was due to hormonal factors, like differences in testosterone levels; it is greater in boys than girls and it influences aggressive behaviour. Therefore, it makes the theory overall reductionist as it does not consider biological factors. Another criticism is most experiments were laboratory experiments and participants could have shown demand characteristics; the main purpose of a bobo doll is to strike it; hence the children may have been acting the way they thought they had too. Additionally, the method lacks ecological validity as it does not relate to real-life situations. The children showed aggression towards an inflatable doll and not a real human being, perhaps the results would have been different if it were a real human

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