Social psychological approaches to aggression: social learning theory

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Psychology aggression revision
Social psychological approaches to aggression- social learning theory
A child observes a role model behaving aggressively and develops a mental
representation that it is good as they see the role model getting vicarious
reinforcement. The child then gets direct experience and experiences positive
reinforcement. This leads to a higher self efficacy by becoming more aggressive.
Bandura's bobo doll study
Looked at 48 children in America in 2 groups of aggressive or non aggressive
conditions. The children played with some toys for 1 minute and observed a role
model playing with toys for 10 minutes. The role model was either aggressive or
non aggressive. The toys were then taken away to frustrate the children. The
children were later able to play with the toys and were observed for 20 minutes.
Found that 80% of those in the aggressive group directly copied aggressive
behaviour and then became aggressive in their own way. There was no difference
between boys or girls or whether the role model was male or female. This supports
the ideas of observation, role models and self efficacy. Variations included the
role model being presented on TV and the children were still aggressive therefore
the research has useful applications. Role models were either rewarded or
punished and when they were punished then the children were less likely to be
aggressive supporting direct experience and vicarious reinforcement. Children
were punished or rewarded and aggression was higher when they were rewarded
but lower when they were punished, supporting the ideas of positive reinforcement
and direct experience.
When variations are included the study supports all aspects of the theory
/ Bobo doll is designed to be hit so aggression should be expected. When
the doll was replaced with a human clown the children were still aggressive,
removing a possible confounding variable.
children had to be frustrated and theory doesn't explain why they do in
order to be aggressive. Therefore other factors may influence aggression.
General evaluation points
explains real life situations such as copying TV
cultural bias- only American children so other cultures may act
Explains cultural differences so why some children are more violent than

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Psychology aggression revision
/ Deterministic as it says that you will copy what you see so it ignores
free will which is an issue as people can choose not to be aggressive.
However, it means that it's easier to find useful applications.
Reductionist- ignores other factors such as genes and hormones so we
only get a limited understanding of the causes of aggression.…read more


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