Explain Social Learning Theory, Making Reference to Two Relevant Studies

Social Learning Theory by Albert Bandura (1977)
Based on the assumption that people learn behaviors, attitudes, emotional reactions and norms through direct experiences but also through observing other humans (models)
Social Learning Theory Model: 4 Factors of Learning
Attention: Pay attention to the model is a condition of learning
Retention: Remembering what the model did is a condition for imitating the model’s behavior
Reproduction: People must have the capacity for imitating the behavior
Motivation: People must be motivated to imitate behavior
Bandura et al. (1977) Aims
Two aims:
1.) Wanted to see if children would imitate aggression modeled by an adult
2.) They wanted to know if children were more likely to imitate same-sex models
Factors of Motivation
Consistency: If the model behaves in a way that is consistent across situations
Identification with the Model: There is a tendency to imitate models who are like ourselves (age/gender)
Rewards/punishment: Argues that people can learn from observing what happens to others; they don’t have to experience the consequence themselves (vicarious reinforcement
Liking the Model: Warm and friendly models are more likely to be imitated than cold, uncaring models.
Bandura et al. (1977) Procedure
– Children 3-6 years old (36 boys & 36 girls) divided into groups
– Groups were matched with regard to aggression based on an evaluation by parents and teachers
– Group 1: Exposed to adult models who showed aggression toward an inflatable doll
– Group 2: Exposed to adult model assembling toys for 10 minutes
– Group 3: Served as control not seeing any model
(First & second groups – some children watched same-sex models and some watched opposite-sex models
– Then placed in room with toys, taken out of room, being told toys were for other children
– Put in room with inflatable doll
Bandura et al. (1977) Results
– Found that children who had observed aggressive models were significantly more aggressive (physically and verbally)
– With regard to second aim, Bandura observed:
– Girls: more likely to imitate verbal aggression
– Boys: more likely to imitate physical aggression
Eron (1986) Procedure & Results
– Carried out longitudinal study, monitoring children’s behavior over a 15 year period
– Found positive correlation between the number of hours of violence watched on TV by elementary school children and the level of aggression demonstrated as teenagers
– Also found children age 8 who watched TV violence were more likely to be arrested or prosecuted fro criminal acts as an adult
Acronym: SLT
(Social Learning Theory)

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