Agression revision cards A2 psychology

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: sarahj96
  • Created on: 14-01-14 14:35

Social Learning Theory



  • we learn behaviours through observing others, these people are called models.
  • we learn the specifics of aggression such as the form it takes, who it is directed against, how often it is enacted, the situations that produce it  and when it is appropriate to use it.
  • children are unlikely to perform behaviour unless motivated to do so
  • motivation can occur when the behaviour is vicariously reinfored (seeing model succeed)
  • Learn behaviour if the expected rewards are greater than the expectation of punishment.
1 of 9

Social Learning Theory

Mental representation

  • Bandura (1986) for SLT to occur children must form a mental representation of behaviour (direct reinforcement)
  • performing behaviour and outcome if positive outcome is expected and opportunity arises

Performing Behaviour

  • If children are rewarded when aggressive they are likely to repeat it (direct reinforcement)
  • value of aggressive behaviour will also increase as it is associated with rewards
  • children will also have a higher sense of self efficacy because they have the confidence in using the behaviour to get what they want (the reward)
  • children who are unsuccessful will have less self confidence and lower sense of self efficacy and therefore turn to other means.
2 of 9

Social Learning Theory


Bandura 1986

  • 3-5 year olds  film clips of a model behaving aggressively towards a Bobo Doll.
  •  88% of children imitated the behaviours.
  • No children in the control group showed these behaviours.
  • This suggests that children have imitated the aggressive behaviours of the adults as the control group did not show aggressive behaviour but does not necessarily tell us why they did.

Futher support for SLT 


  • Condition 1 model rewarded with sweets and chocolate
  • Condition 2 model punished
  • Children in condition 1 more likely to behave aggressively to Bobo Doll
  • Group 1 expected a reward more likely as learnt by vicarious reinforcement
3 of 9

Social Learning Theory

AO2 - Strenghts of SLT

  • Unlike operant conditioning it can explain aggressive behaviour in the absence of direct reinforcement.
  • Bandura and Walters found that by the children seeing the models being punished for performing aggressive behaviour reduced the amount of aggressive behaviour they displayed when faced with the Bobo Doll.
  • consequently the concept of vicarious learning is necessary to explaining these findings.
4 of 9

Social Learning Theory


Ethical issues in SLT - expressing children to aggressive behaviour leave the experiment in the same state of mind as they came in - also, children cannot give fully informed consent to their participation in a study so the right procedures must be addressed. - therefore difficult to test experimental hypothesis about SLT and is difficult to establish the scientific credibility of this theory by these means.

Cultural Differences in SLT - !Kung San of the Kalahari Desert - aggression is rare- child rearing practices - when children fight they are neither rewarded or punished but physically separated and distracted - parents do not use physical punishment or aggressive postures as it is devalued by society - the absence of direct reinforcement and aggressive role models little opportunity for motivation for aggressive acts.

Demand Characteristics -  Banduras study - Nobel observed children before the experiment saying 'look mummy, that is the doll we have to hit'. Bandura countered the demand characteristics caused by using a doll designed to be hit, by replacing it using a real clown, who is not designed to be hit, produced the same results.

5 of 9



Deindividuation Theory

Festinger et al 'The process which people lose sence of self awareness and individuality and this usually happens when their identities are hidden'

Based on the 'Classic crowd theory' of Gustav Le Bon (1895) - an individual is transformed when as part of a crowd.

anonymity, suggestibility and contagion mean a collective mind takes possession of the individual, they lose self control and behave in a way that may go against social or personal norms.

Hogg and Vaughn claim it is this loss of socialised individual indentity that enables people to engage in antisocial behaviour.

6 of 9



Nature of Deindividuation - Zimbardo (1969)

  • A psychological state aroused in large groups characterised by
  • Lowered self evaluation
  • Decreased concern about evaluation by others
  • This leads to behaviour that would normally go against personal or social norms.

Factors that contribute towards deindividuation include anonymity e.g. wearing a uniform, altered conciousness e.g drugs/alcohol

Process of Deindividuation

  • Zimbardo - being anonymous in a crowd reduces inner restraints and therefore increases behaviours that are usually inhibited.
  • Each person in the crowd is essentially faceless the bigger the crowd the greater the anonymity
  • There is a diminished fear of being evaluated negatively and a reduced sense of guilt which weakens the usual barriers to anti social behaviour
7 of 9



IDA Mann (1981) used the concept of deindividuation to explain a particular form of collective behaviour 'The Baiting Crowd' - supports the idea of a crowd as a deindividuated mob - analysed 21 suicide incidents in American newspapers in the 1960's/70's - found that 10/21 cases where a crowd was gathered to watch, baiting occured and urged the person to jump - incidents tended to occur at night when the crowd was large and there was some distance from the person.

Malamuth & Check (1981) - Questionaire given to male students at an American University. Found that 1/3rd of them admitted that they would commit **** if there was no chance of them being identified.

Mullen 1986 - analysed newspaper cutting of 60 lynchings in the US 1899-1946. Found that the more people there were in the mob, the greater savagery with which they killed their victim.

8 of 9



Gender Bias in deindividuation - Cannavale et al (1970) found that male and female groups respond differently under deindividuation conditions - increase in aggression only found in male ( maybe because of testosterone?) this was also found by Deiner et al who found greater disinhibition of aggression in males.

Reductionist ignores biological explanations


9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Aggression resources »