Aggression - Social Psychological theories of aggression - SLT

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  • Created by: Kirsty
  • Created on: 01-04-10 13:11



Aggression is learned:

Indirectly - through observational learning. Such behaviour is only repeated if vicarious reinforcement occurs. Vicarious reinforcement occurs when you observe someone else being reinforced for certain behaviour (e.g. on TV). This increases your own expectations of future rewards and punishments.

Directly - when a behaviour is performed, it may be directly reinforced and, therefore, more likely to be repeated. if it isn't reinforced, the probability that it will be repeated is decreased.

Both direct and indirect reinforcement are examples of operant conditioning.

An individual learns the value of aggressive behaviour (thus increasing tendency to aggress) and to imitate specific acts of aggression.

Bandura first outlined SLT.

He suggested that there are 4 steps in the modelling process:

1. Attention - if a person (model) is attractive, prestigious, or similar you will pay more attention.

2. Retention - actions must be remembered (i.e. cognitive processes involved).

3. Reproduction - vicarious reinforcement is not enough, imitation can only occur if the person possesses appropriate skills.

4. Motivation - imitation is related to direct and indirect reinforcement and punishments.

Research evidence

Bandura et al



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