Social Learning Theory

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  • Created by: r
  • Created on: 11-09-14 18:47
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  • Social Learning Theory
    • AO1
      • Bandura believed that aggression could not be explained using the traditional learning theory.
        • SLT suggest that we learn by observing others
      • Observation
        • Children primarily learn their aggressive responses through observation - watching the behavior of the role model them imitating it.
        • Skinner's Operant conditioning theory claimed that learning takes place through direct reinforcement, Bandura suggested that the children learn just by observing the models.
      • Vicarious Learning
        • Children also observe and learn about the consequences of aggressive behavior by watching others being reinforced or punished.
        • Children witness many examples of aggressive behavior at home and at school as well as in films and T.V.
        • By observing the consequences of aggressive behavior, a child gradually learns what is considered appropriate and what isnt
        • Thus the children learn the behaviors (through observations) and they learn whether and when such behaviors are worth repeating (through vicarious learning)
      • Mental Representation
        • Bandura (1986) claimed in order for social learning to take place, the child must form mental representations of the events in their social environment.
        • The child must also represent possible rewards and punishments for their aggressive behavior in terms of expediencies of future outcomes.
        • When appropriate opportunities arise in the future, the child will display the learned behavior as long as the rewards is greater than the punishment
      • Production of behavior
        • Maintainence through direct experience
          • If a child is rewarded for a behavior, he or she is likely to repeat the same action in similar situations in the future.
          • A child who has a history of successfully bullying other children will therefore come to attach considerable value to aggression.
        • Self - Efficacy Expectancies
          • Children develop confidence in their ability to carry out the necessary aggressive action.
          • Children who haven't has a successful history/ weren't very good at displaying aggressive behavior have less confidence.
          • Those children with less confidence (lower sense of self - efficacy) in their ability to use aggression successfully to resolve conflicts may turn to other means.
    • AO2
      • Research Support
        • The Role Of Punishment
          • Bandura (1965) repeated The Bobo Doll Experiment but now, after exposure to the model, offered rewards to all the children imitating the models aggressive behavior.
          • In this case all three groups performed a similar number of imitative acts.
          • This shows that learning does take place regardless of reinforcements BUT the production of the behaviors is related to selective reinforcements.
        • Applicability To Adults
          • Phillips (1986) found that daily homicide rates in the US almost always increased in the week following a major boxing match.
          • This suggest that the viewers were imitating the behavior witnessed and that social learning is evident in adults as well as children.
      • Strengths
        • The Role of Vicarous Learning
          • It can explain aggressive behavior in the absence of direct reinforcement.
          • Although participants behaved more aggressively after observing an aggressive model, at no point were the children rewarded for any action
        • Individual Differences In Aggressive Behavior
          • It can explain differences in aggressive and non-aggressive behavior both between and within individuals.
      • Cultural Differences
        • SLT can be used to explain cultural differences.
        • Among the    !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert, aggression is comparatively rare.
        • This is because of child rearing practices, when the children argue, they just separate them and distract them.
        • They also do not reward or reinforce them and aggression is devalued by the society as a whole.
    • IDA
      • Ethical issues make it hard to test SLT experimentally.
      • Exposing children to aggressive behavior with the knowledge that they may reproduce it raises ethical issues.
      • It is exposing the children to physical and psychological harm.
      • As a result, experimental studies such as The Bobo Doll study would no longer be allowed to take place.
      • This means that it is difficult to test the experimental hypotheses about aggressive behavior, consequently difficult to establish the scientific credibility of the theory.


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