- Previous Studies have shown that children will imitate behaviours they observe someone else performing in the immediate setting.
- Aggression is 'any behaviour directed towards another individual that is carried out with the intent to cause harm.'
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- To see if learning that took place in one situation would be generalised to other situations.
- The researchers predicted that
- Observing an aggressive model will lead to a subject to reproduce aggressive acts similar to their models, wheras this will not be true of subjects who observed non-agressive models or no model.
- Observing an aggressive model will lead a subject to behave in a generally more aggressive manner, whereas those who observed a non-aggressive model would be inhibited from behaving aggressively
- Subjects will imitate the behaviour of a same sex model to a greater degree than a model of the opposite sex
- Boys will be more likely than girls to imitate aggressive behaviour because it is a highly masculine activity.
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Procedure, Method and Sample
- Participants were children from a Uni nursery school in California.
- 36 girls and 36 boys aged between aprox. 3-5 years. The mean age was 52 months.
- There were two adult models, a male and a female, plus a female experimenter
- There were three groups
- Group 1: Observed an aggressive model (20 children)
- Group 2: Observed a non-aggressive model (20 children)
- Group 3: No exposure to any model. (24 children)
- Group 1+2 were subdivided into 4. Boys watching same sex model, Girls watching same-sex model, Girls watching different sex model and boys watching different sex model.
- To ensure that each group contained equally aggressive children, ratings were done of the children beforehand by an experimenter who knew the children well and one of the children's teachers. Subjects were arranged in triplets and assigned at random to one of the three groups
- Each child was taken individually by the experimenter to an experimental room in the main nursery building and the 'model' was invited to join them. The experimenter seated the child at a small table in the corner of the room and encouraged the child to design a picture using designs and potato prints. Once the child was settled, the experimenter escorted the model to the opposite corner which contained a small table, chair, tinker toy, mallet and bobo doll. The experimenter left the room.
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Procedure, Method and Sample 2
- In the non-aggressive condition the model assembled the tinker toys in a subdued manner and ignored the bobo doll.
- In the aggressive condition the model spent the first minute playing quietly but then turned to the bobo doll and spent the rest of the time being aggressive towards it. This included specific acts such as laying the doll on its side, sitting on it, punching it repeatedly in the nose, picking it up and striking it with the mallet, throwing it in the air and kicking it about the room. There were comments such as 'Hit him down' 'pow' and 'He keeps coming back for more.
- The experimenter returned after 10 mins and informed the subject it was time to go to another game room.
- It was necassary to mildly provoke them because they wanted to measure imitative aggression, and observing aggressive behaviour may reduce the probability of behaving aggressively and observing the non-aggressive model may inhibit from behaving aggressively because of what they observed.
- The chilldren were taken to a room in another building that contained toys such as fire engines, jet fighter planes, colourful spinning top, complete doll set and wardrobe and a baby crib. After two minutes the experimenter said that she had decided to reserve the toys for other children and they moved to the ajoining room.
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Procedure, Method and Sample 3
- The room contained a variety of toys, that were 'aggressive' (mallet, dart gun, tether ball with a face on it, and a three foot bobo doll) and 'non-aggressive' (Tea set, crayons and paper, a ball, dolls, cars and plastic animals)
- The experimenter sat in the corner quietly working while the child played for 20 mins. The child was observed through a one-way mirror by the male model and sometimes another observer. The observers did not know which condition the child had participated in.
- The observer recorded what the child was doing every 5 seconds. Responses were recorded in categories and provided an 'aggression score'.
- Imitative aggression
Physical: Specific acts that were imitated
Verbal: Imitated phrases
Non-aggressive verbal: Imitated phrases that wern't aggressive (He keeps coming back for more)
- Partially Imitative aggression
Mallet aggression on other toys
Sits on bobo doll but not aggressively
- Non-imitative aggression
Punches/strikes/slaps bobo doll
Non-imitative agression: aggressive acts directed at toys other than bobo, saying hostile things not said by the model
Aggressive gun play
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- Carried out in Lab conditions = low ecological validity
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- Whether the actions of the model were imitated or partially imitated
- The occurance of non-aggressive behaviour
- The occurance of non imitative aggression.
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- Behaviour of the model
- Sex of the model
- Sex of the subject.
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Children imitated the models they saw in terms of specific acts and in general levels of behaviour
- Children in the aggressive condition imitated many of the models physical and verbal behaviours, both aggressive and non-aggressive. 1/3 of their imitations were of non-aggressive behaviour. Children in the non-aggressive condition displayed very few of these behaviours, 70% had 0 marks.
- The results were similar for partial imitation.
- The aggressive group displayed more non-imitative aggression than the non-aggressive group, although the difference was small.
- Children in the non-aggressive condition spent more time playing non-aggressively with dolls than children in other groups
- There was some evidence of same-sex imitation for boys, but not for girls. The male models had a greater influence than the female models.
- Boys imitated more physical aggression than girls but the groups didn't differ in terms of verbal aggression.
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- People will produce new behaviours that they have observed and generalise these behaviours to other situations
- Children were influenced more by the male model, this could have been because physical aggression is a male-type behaviour. Girls and boys were not suprised by the males behaviour, in fact saying they were quite impressed. They were suprised by the female models. ("That's not the way for a lady to behave") They may have been more likely to imitate 'appropriate behaviour' and prone to ignore 'inappropriate behaviour'
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- Aggression towards an inflatable doll
- Lab experiment with extraneous variables controlled
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- Participants were children
- Asked to witness aggressive behaviour
- Expected outcome was aquisition of aggressive behaviour
- Mildly provoked
- Observed covertly.
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