The Learning Approach: Social Learning Theory

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  • The Learning Approach: Social Learning Theory
    • basic assumptions
      • behaviour is learned from the environment = does not regard genetics as an influence on behaviour
      • behaviour is learnt from observing others and the reinforcement/punishment they receive.
    • Bandura's research - is a learning theorist whose theory considers the thought processes that underlie our behaviour
    • key concepts
      • imitation - someone observes the behaviour of a role model and copies it.
      • identification - someone is influenced by another and wishes to be like them
      • modelling - when someone is influential
    • 4 mediational processes - these are thoughts prior to imitation
      • attention - must occur for a behaviour to be imitated
      • retention - remember the behaviour
      • reproduction - being physically able to carry out the behaviour
      • motivation - rewards and punishments will be considered. if the vicarious reinforcement is not seen to be important enough, you would not imitate the behaviour
    • Evaluation of the Learning Approach
      • SLT takes thought processes into account and acknowledges the role they play in deciding if a behaviour will be imitated
      • successfully explains the imitation of certain behaviours, eg why someone would start smoking
      • learning theory does not fully explain all behaviour, especially when there is no apparent role model
      • social learning theorists use a variety of research methods = can be criticised for being unscientific


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