Theory's PY1

Important information for the different theories of the four approaches.


Social Learning Theory


  • Children learn their aggressive responses through observation, role models.
  • They identify behaviour from role models this is observational learning.
  • Children observe and learn behaviour by watching others being reinforced or punished and the consequences of aggression.
  • This is called indirect or vicarious reinforcement.
  • By seeing these consequences children learn something about what is considered appropriate behaviour in the environment around them.


  • In order for children to repeat the behaviour children have to be given the opportunity.
  • They must be able to see what reward or punishment they are going to get from performing the behaviour.

In 1961 Bandura took a group of 3-5 year olds and got a parent/role model to play with toys aggressively they put child in room with toys and they copied.

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Personality Development

  • The ego strength is the ability to function despite the fact that the ID, EGO and superEGO are in competition with each other.
  •   The oral stage (birth to 1 year)   During the oral stage, the mouth is the primary source of an infant’s sensual pleasure  Freud claimed that difficulties at the oral stage can result in Oral aggressive or Oral receptive personalities.
  • The anal stage (1 to 3 years)   During the anal stage, children derive sensual pleasure, Freud believed, from expelling and withholding feces difficulties at this stage can result in Anal retentive or Anal expulsive personalities.
  •    The phallic stage (3 to 5 or 6 years) During the phallic stage, children learn that they can derive pleasure from touching their genitals, and masturbation is common at this stage freud said that children identify with their same sex parent this is called the oedipus complex.
  •   The latency period (5 or 6 years to puberty)    The sex instinct is repressed and temporarily sublimated in school and play activities, hobbies, and sports.
  •   The genital stage (from puberty on)  In the genital stage, the focus of sexual energy gradually shifts to the opposite sex for the vast majority of people
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Attribution Theory

Fritz Heider (1950s)

External and internal attributes

  • People have a strong tendancy to attribute causes of behaviour.
  • We try to make sense of peoples behaviour by piecing together bits of information before coming to a reasonable explanation.
  • Internal or dispositional attributes are about the person e.g a persons loud...they have an extroverte personality.
  • External/situational attributes are about the situation e.g. loud person the environment is loud.
  • heider claimed that people prefered to make internal attributions rather that external and this is called the fundemental attribution error.
  • in collectivist cultures people make external attribution errors because in collectivist cultures people share tasks belongings and income.
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Behavioural Therapy General Adaptation Syndrome

Hans Selye (1936 and 1950)

  • When animals are exposed to unpleasant stimuli, they display a universal response to all stressors.(GAS)
  • General-it happens to everyone.
  • Adaptation-The way the body copes with extreme stress
  • Syndrome-There are several symptoms of stress.
  • There are 3 stages that GAS is divided into, leading up to illness-stress leads up to a depletion in the bodies resources.

Stage 1-Alarm reaction-Threat or stressor is recognized and a response is made The hypothalamus triggers the production of adrenaline from the adrenaline glands this causes increased heart rate, sweaty palms and fast breathing. Readiness for fight or flight.

Stage 2-Resistance-If stress continues, then the body adapts the the environments needs but the body's resources are slowly being depleted, seem to be coping but in reality depleting.

Stage 3-Exhaustion-Body's systems can no longer maintain normal functioning, initial symptoms reappear, adrenalin glands may become damaged because of over use, immune system unable to cope because production of proteins is low.

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Evidence for GAS

Hans Selye Research With Rats

Context- Worked in hospital noticed patients all had same set of symptom no matter what they were in for and then in 1936 he noticed the same symptoms when he measured the effect of different hormones in the body

Aim- To test the theory that there is one system in the body that deals with all stressors.

Procedure- Rats were exposed to different stressors such as cold surgical injury, spinal shock excessive exercise,

Findings- A typical syndrome was observed, the symptoms of which were independent of the stressor.

1 stage-enlargement of the adrenal glands, ulcers in digestive system, shrinkage of immune system. 

2 stage- Treatment continued function of internal organs back to same

3 stage- 1-3 months animals lost resistance and displayed original symptoms 

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