Last Updated 09 May 2021

The Bobo Experiment

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The Bobo Experiment was performed in 1961 by Albert Bandura to try and prove that people, especially children, learn their social skills and behaviors from copying or mimicking adults in their lives rather than through heredity genes. Bandura wanted to show, by using aggressive and non-aggressive adult-actors, that a child would be apt to replicate and learn from the behavior of a trusted adult (Shuttleworth, M. 2008). These issues have been present for many years, even before the media used these factors as selling points for newspapers. During the 1960s, there were several concerns and debates about how children developed whether it be from genetics, environmental factors, or social interactions. For this reason, Bandura created the Bobo Doll Experiment to prove that children are taught from adults in their lives through role-modeling (Shuttleworth, M. 2008). Bandura had several hypotheses about the results of the Bobo Doll Experiment that were appropriate with his vision on the concepts of social learning (Shuttleworth, M. 2008).

Children observing an adult role model operating in an overtly hostile manner would be likely to replicate similar behavior themselves, even if the adult was not there (Shuttleworth, M. 2008). Subjects who had witnessed a non-aggressive adult would be less likely to show violent inclinations, even if the adult was not present. They would be even less likely to exhibit this kind of aggression than the control group of children, who had seen no role model at all (Shuttleworth, M. 2008). Bandura believed that children would be much more expected to mimic the behavior of a role model of the same sex. He wanted to show that it was much easier for a child to recognize and relate with an adult of the same gender (Shuttleworth, M. 2008). Bandura’s last prediction was that boys would tend to be more aggressive than girls, because society has always endured and promoted violent behavior in men more than women (Shuttleworth, M. 2008). The results for the Bobo Doll Experiment showed, as expected, that children who were exposed to the aggressive model were more apt to show derivative aggressive behavior themselves.

Another prediction was proved correct in that boys were nearly three times more likely to imitate physically violent behavior than girls (Shuttleworth, M. 2008). The overall conclusion of the Bobo Doll Experiment proved to be somewhat incomplete where most of the predictions were not being fully proved. It is not certain that children learn socially, however, it is likely that children watching an adult model using violent behaviors are more apt to believe that this kind of behavior is acceptable. Therefore, they may become users of this type of action themselves when faced with similar situations (Shuttleworth, M. 2008). Bandura discovered that girls were much less likely to become physically violent, but were equally as susceptible to verbal aggression as boys. This finding is often seen in society, where bullying at school, by boys, is more often of a physical nature; intimidation amongst girls tends to be more verbal and social (Shuttleworth, M. 2008).

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My theory on childhood development is that there are several factors that “mold” a child into the adult that the child grows to become. These factors include, but not limited to, social interaction with adults and peers, environmental factors, heredity genes, and the economic standing on their community. Children are susceptible to most things in their lives. One could envision a child as a sponge in that they absorb all information around them. Children learn manners, basic living skills, language, and the like from their closest adults (i. e. , parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends’ parents). Children could possibly inherit disorders that cause obstacles in their learning abilities of how to conduct themselves appropriately in society. I think the most important factor that children learn from the adults and peers in their lives are how to solve problems with a little confrontation as possible.

I feel that most adults today have trouble in this particular area; therefore, these adults are inadvertently teaching their children the same problem-solving skills that they hold when in actuality these adults want their children to solve their problems in a different and better way. The factor of the economic standing of their community is that if a child and their family live in a community of poor value, there tend to be less opportunities for a child to develop the necessary skills to survive and be self-sufficient in today’s world. The communities of today need to provide outlets for children to express their dreams, concerns, and goals where the child feels safe. I think every community should have some sort of community center or boys & girls club that promotes activities for the children, counseling for the children who need and want it, study tutors for children who need assistance with their homework, and proper teachings of appropriate social interaction. In my personal life, I have discovered that, as an adult, I replicate today a lot of my mother’s behaviors that I saw when I was a child.

Remember saying to yourself, “I’ll never grow up to be my mother! ” I do. Unfortunately, I have become her as an adult through how I conduct my attitudes, moods, facial expressions, and outlook on life. Through what I know of myself and what I experienced as a child, I can say with certainty that children are very influenced by their parents’ behaviors, attitudes, and moods. Children tend to believe that their parents are perfect and can do no wrong. I think that children are too young to realize that their parents are human just like they are and are just as likely to make several, if not numerous, mistakes on a daily basis. Without question, children are influenced, guided, and “molded” by the factors of life that surround them.


  1. Shuttleworth, M. (2008). The Bobo doll experiment. (pp. 1-1). Experiment-Resources. com. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from Experiment-Resources. com. http://www. experiment-resources. com/bobo-doll-experiment. html#ixzz0KuMD9ZEw&C
The Bobo Experiment essay

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