Social Learning Theory

  • Created by: Annagc
  • Created on: 27-05-19 13:05

Basic Assumptions

  • All behaviour is learnt through experience by observing others behaviour and the consequences for them
  • It can be viewed as a bridge between the behaviourist and cognitive approaches 
  • Vicarious reinforcement - Learning is not a result of direct reinforcement or experience but rather an individuals observation of another person's experience where they are reinforced
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Mediational Cognitive Processes

  • Attention - learning depends on the amount of attention an observer pays to the model
  • Retention - learning depends of the extent to which the observer remembers what they observed 
  • Reproduction - the observer's ability physically and mentally to reproduce the behaviour 
  • Motivation - whether the model recieves positive or negative reinforcement affects the likelihood of the behaviour being performed by the observer 
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Bandura's Bobo the Doll Experiment

  • Aim - to demonstrate observational or imitative learning in young children
  • Method - Children from one group were put in a room with an adult who behaved in an aggressive way towards to doll, the second group were put in a room with an adult who behaved in a non-aggressive way towards the doll, the children were then put in a room with toys including the doll and a hammer and they recorded th number of aggressive behaviours towards the doll.
  • Result - those who observed the adult being aggressive behaved more aggressively, boys were also more aggressive than girls 
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Positive Evaluation

  • It is supported by reserach 
  • It is a more complete explanation than conditioning as it considers cognitive processes 
  • It can explain the differences in behaviour between cultures as if behaviour isn't displayed it can't be imitated 
  • It can explain the influence of media on aggressive behaviour e.g. James Bulger 
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Negative Evaulation

  • Labortory experiments don't explain the way people behave in real life 
  • The children were on their own but in real life parents would moderate their behaviour 
  • They knew the doll couldn't feel pain so this may explain the violence 
  • They may have shwn demand characteristsics as they thought they were expected to behave in this way 
  • Doesn't explain why boys behaved more aggressively 
  • Ignores other factors e.g. genetics 
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Stance on debates

  • Soft determinism 
  • Nurture 
  • Reductionist 
  • Nomothetic - does consider individual differnces as a result of different conditioning
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