Social Learning Theory full notes and applied options

Contains full notes and evaluation of the Social Learning Theory & applied notes to Gender Development and Forensic Psychology with evaluation. 

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Social Learning Theory: Social learning theory as a bridge between traditional behaviourism and the
cognitive approach. Assumptions of social learning theory. The role of mediational processes in
learning, motivation and performance of behaviour. Observational learning and the role of vicarious
reinforcement. Strengths and limitations of social learning theory.
Behaviourist Cognitive
Similarities to SLT Role of reinforcement Cognitive processes
Behaviour learnt Human behaviour
rather than animals
Differences from SLT Importance of Observational learning
expectancy isn't part of the
SLT looks forward on cognitive approach
the behaviour whereas Cognitive processes
behaviourism looks e.g. schemas are used
backwards SLT focuses on external
Learning and behaviour whereas
performance are cognitive psychologists
different focus on internal
Animals are not the processes
same as humans
Bandura proposed SLT to explain human behaviour in a more complex way than the behaviourist
approach (stimulus-response).
"Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on
the effects of their own actions to inform then what to do [and so] from observing others one
forms an idea of how new behaviours are performed, and on later occasions this coded
information serves as a guide of action."
By this he meant that learning would take too much time if people relied on observing the effects
from their own actions. By learning from others, we learn the correct/appropriate actions in each

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We can use
other people as "models" for which behaviour to use and when.
Observational learning: learning from observing the behaviour of others and then replicating
it, or, in the case of children, learning through identification (internalising said person's norms
and values). Imitation is not automatic.
Expectancy: behaviour will only be copied if the person anticipates some form of
reward/reinforcement. If a child observes an aggressive adult winning a fight, they will
expect to win the fight using aggression and so they imitate this.…read more

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Difference between
learning from
observation and
performance of
Bandura's Bobo Doll
Aim: Investigate the imitation of aggression in children.
Method: 36 boys and 36 girls (average age 52 months). Divided into 8 groups of 6 and one control of
24 children. The groups were matched on pre-experiment aggression ratings made by teachers and
The children were placed (alone) in a playroom for 10 minutes with an adult acting as a model.…read more

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Higher aggression score for imitation of the adult male model for physical aggression by
both sexes.
Children in non-aggressive conditions had lower aggression scores than the children in the
control condition.
Conclusion: the children learned aggressive acts from watching the models, other factors also
affected their learning.
This study provides support for SLT- that we learn to be aggressive through observing
others behaviours.
Demand characteristics, the bobo doll is meant to be hit...…read more

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SLT is less deterministic Bandura's experiment
and reductionist, talks of can be criticised by
more of an interaction Cumberbatch (1992) who
between behaviour and found:
the environment; this is - demand characteristics
`reciprocal determinism' made children aware of
"Behaviour partly creates what was expected
the environment and the - bobo doll was pleasant
resultant environment, in to hit because it bounced
turn influences the back up
behaviour" - bobo doll would
SLT explains specific increase aggression
imitations of behaviour scores as it is a novelty…read more

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Good at explaining specific imitated Cumberbatch criticism of bobo doll
behaviour experiment
Explains development of culture and Cannot explain the learning of abstract
complex behaviours ideas
Forensic Psychology
SLT acknowledges the role of mediating cognitive variables lying between stimulus and response.
These shape our behaviour as they cause us to think about the consequences of our actions. Bandura
stated that influences on our behaviour are from the observation of role models in the individual's
environment.…read more

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Doesn't explain CRIMES OF PASSION
Sutherland's Differential Association
Criminal behaviour is learned through exposure to criminal norms. Crime occurs because of:
Learned attitudes
Imitation of specific acts
Criminal activity is the result of an individual expressing their needs e.g. stealing = need for money.
Some of these needs are learned as we are not born with the immediate need for money as it is not
a biological necessity.…read more

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Hallway et al found children learn and maintain identities within the classroom.
Connell: an experiment into school enforcement of gender regimes. At secondary school women are
more likely to teach humanities and men teach maths and sciences.
Colley divided curriculum into boys and girls subjects: boy's subjects were physics, IT, history and
physical activity. Girl's subjects were geography and social sciences.…read more

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Isabella Danks.
Notre Dame High School.…read more


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