Aggression - Social Learning Theory

Studies, theories and definitions with some evaluative points, pictures, perfect for making revision notes from!

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  • Created on: 18-03-13 15:13
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Aggression ­ Social Learning Theory
Aggression: feelings of anger or
antipathy resulting in hostile or violent
behavior; readiness to attack or
theories propose causes of aggressive
behaviour arise out of our interactions with
others in our world.'
Social Learning Theory (SLT) is defined as learning behaviour
controlled by environmental influences rather than innate or internal
forces and is often called modelling or observational learning.
Suggests aggression like any other behaviour is learnt, through
direct experience (operant conditioning) or vicarious
experience (observing actions of others).
Behaviour which is learnt will be reinforced/rewarded and
repeated and learned
Aggression associated with a reward e.g. praise or increased
self-esteem is likely to be learned.
Learning occurs indirectly through observing others ­
vicarious experience.
4 step process ­ Bandura (Based on Bobo
doll study)
1. Attention ­ attending to a models
behaviour in order to reproduce behaviour
2. Retention ­ in order to reproduce
modelled behaviour, individuals must code
and recall behaviour by placing it into LTM
to retrieve.
3. Production ­ individuals must be
capable of reproducing models behaviour
4. Motivation ­ individuals expect to
receive rewards for modelled behaviour
which motivates their behaviour.

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Children are more likely to copy
behaviour when
Rewards are valued
Model is similar in sex, age
and interests
Model is charismatic and
Task imitated is not too easy
or too difficult
Individuals have low
self-esteem or low
confidence in own abilities
Bandura perceived family members and media as very
powerful sources of influence.…read more

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Imitation of film-mediated aggressive
Who? 66 nursery children into 3 groups
What? All groups watched a film where an
adult model kicked and punched a Bobo
doll with aggressive comments. After
watching an additional scene
demonstrated the consequences.…read more

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Evaluation of the Social Learning Theory
It is able to explain cultural differences ­ The `culture of violence'
theory (Wolfgang and Ferracuti 1967) proposes that some cultures
and subcultures emphasize and model aggressive behaviour. Other
cultures emphasize and model non-aggressive behaviour and so are
more likely to produce individuals with low levels of aggression.…read more

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US act as powerful evidence to support dominant role played by
learning. Interestingly societies where non-aggressive behaviour is
more prevalent e.g. Pygmies of Central Africa there are few distinctions
made between males and females ­ differences between roles of males
and females DO exist in these societies but no attempt is made to project
an image of brave aggressive masculinity (Deaux et al 1993).
However, to make up a full holistic, complex picture the explanations
may work together to explain aggression.…read more


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