The Social Learning Theory Of Bandura

1690 words - 7 pages

The Social Learning Theory of Bandura emphasises the importance of observing and modelling the behaviours, attitudes and emotional reactions of others. The Social Learning Theory explains human behaviour in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioural, an environmental influences, suggesting that behaviour can be learned at the cognitive level through observing other people's actions. (Blackburn, 1993) This suggests that people are capable of imagining themselves in similar situations, and of incurring similar outcomes. Once the behaviour is learned it may be reinforced or punished by the consequences it generates. Bandura subscribed to several of the essent ...view middle of the document...

The time Paul served in juvenile institutions did not discourage him from criminal activities, instead it had the opposite effect. Contact with other people who have favourable criminal antics and perceptions leads to an individual learning similar modes of action. (Hollin, 1989) The theory does not indicate that these people are necessarily associated with crime or criminal activities; they only have to express favourable attitudes towards crime. (Hollin, 1989) However, while Paul was in juvenile institutions he did mix with other criminals which did strengthen the likelihood of him continuing in his criminal behaviour.Bandura also believed that there was another aspect to motivation, he called it self-reinforcement. (Ewen, 1980) Self-reinforcement refers to ones' sense of pride, or as meeting of standards in ones' own behaviour. (Ewen, 1980) Paul's belief that he was a criminal was reinforced while in these juvenile institutions. He was happy to be a part of this group of criminals and he continued to act criminally to some degree in order to remain a part of the group and as to maintain a sense of pride and social identity.A study in which young children were shown adults interacting with a character called "Bobo Doll" was conducted in order to prove that observation is a primary form of learning. In one film, the adults attacked Bobo, and in another they were friendly to it. One group of children were shown one film another group shown the other.The adults attacked Bobo in a distinctive manner, they used a hammer as a weapon in some instances and in others threw the doll in the air and shouted "Pow, Boom!". As a result of this violent version of the film, the researchers claimed that if the children repeated such behaviour, they learnt it rather than it being acted out spontaneously.Later in 1965, Bandura carried out the same experiment, but showed the adults who behaved aggressively either being punished or rewarded for their actions. Those children, who had seen the adults rewarded, and those who had seen the adult neither rewarded nor punished, behaved more aggressively than those who had seen the adults receive a form of punishment.This suggests that the children who had seen the adults being punished simply could not remember how the adults had behaved. However, when Bandura rewarded all of the children for imitating the behaviour of the adults, this was shown not to be the case. Thus, all three groups of children had comparable levels of observational learning, but those who had seen the adults punished did not emulate the behaviour.The prevalent factor that is stressed in Bandura's theory is that observation is the process of attention. He states that the individual notices something in the environment (retention), the individual remembers what was noticed (reproduction), the individual produces an action that is a copy of what was noticed (motivation) and the environment delivers a consequence that changes the probability ...


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