A Summary on Bandura's Study on Aggression OCR

This is basically a summary I made for homework on the study into imitated aggression by Bandura. I'm doing OCR AS psychology :)

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A Summary by Bethan Reeves 6OS 19/03/11
This study is a laboratory experiment investigating the effects of observing aggression carried out by
Albert Bandura who is best known for his role in the development of the Social Learning Theory (SLT). The
social learning approach has origins from operant and classical conditioning-the behaviourist perspective.
To demonstrate that if children were passive witnesses to an aggressive display by an adult they would
imitate this behaviour when given the opportunity.
The researchers then made the following four hypotheses:
1. Children exposed to aggressive models will reproduce aggressive acts resembling those of the
2. Children exposed to non-aggressive models will reproduce less aggressive acts.
3. Children will imitate the behaviour of a same-sex model to a greater degree than for a model of the
opposite sex.
4. Boys will be more predisposed than girls towards imitating aggression.
The sample was composed of 36 boys and 36 girls all aged 37 to 69 months all from the Stanford University Nursery. The method was a laboratory
experiment and comprised of three main conditions; the control group, the group exposed to the aggressive model and the group exposed to the passive
model. The 72 children were divided into the three conditions equally to give 24 in each group. The aggressive condition was where the children observed
an adult being aggressive towards the Bobo doll; the passive condition was where the children observed an adult playing and ignoring the Bobo doll and the
control group did not see a model and were just placed in the room to play of their own accord. The aggressive and passive conditions were then further
sub-divided into groups according to sex; each condition had 6 boys with the same sex model, 6 boys with opposite sex model, 6 girls with same sex model
and 6 girls with opposite sex model.
The researchers tried to overcome the problem of having a considerably reduced sample size at this point. This was done by pre-testing and rating the
children based on their levels of aggression before the experiment. The researchers asked the nursery teachers to observe the children as they played and
then rate them on four different 5-point scales. These scales were: physical aggression; verbal aggression; aggression towards inanimate objects;
aggressive inhibition. The scores for the scales were totalled to give an overall score for each child. The children were then matched according to levels of
aggression observed prior to the experiment to produce a matched pairs design. All of the children were tested individually during the experiment.

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A Summary by Bethan Reeves 6OS 19/03/11
Stage One
Children were brought into the experiment room by the experimenter, and the model, who was in the hallway outside the room, was invited to come in and
join the game. The room was set up for play and activities were chosen as they were recorded as popular with nursery children. One corner was arranged as
a child's play area with a small table and chair and equipment for potato prints and picture stickers.…read more

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A Summary by Bethan Reeves 6OS 19/03/11
Response Measures
Three different measures of imitation were recorded-observers looked for responses which matched or were similar to the behaviour of the model. These
1. Imitation of physical aggression (for example, punching the doll in the nose);
2. Imitative verbal aggression (for example, repeating the phrases such as "Pow!" or "Sock him in the nose");
3. Imitative non-aggressive verbalisations (for example the child repeats "He keeps coming back for more").…read more

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A Summary by Bethan Reeves 6OS 19/03/11
Bandura recorded that aggression displayed by the female model confused the children somewhat; it perhaps did not suit their prior social understandings
and expectations. For example, some children commented on her behaviour: "Who is that lady? That's not the way for a lady to behave. Ladies are
supposed to act like ladies..." and "You should have seen what that girl did in there. She was punching and fighting but no swearing" were both recorded.…read more

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A Summary by Bethan Reeves 6OS 19/03/11
Evaluation of Procedure
Strengths Weaknesses
Experiments are the only way in which cause and effect can be established. Low ecological validity.…read more

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A Summary by Bethan Reeves 6OS 19/03/11
We can also recognise that physical punishment is, ironically, likely to increase aggressive behaviour than eliminate the bad behaviour as desired.
The major criticism of the Social Learning Approach is that it only looks at complex behaviour and not at simple things such as thoughts and feelings; it cannot
adequately account for how these simpler behaviours are developed.…read more


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