The aim of Bandura's experiment was to demonstrate that if children were witnesses to an aggressive display by an adult they would imitate this aggressive behaviour when given the opportunity.
Bandura, Ross and Ross tested 36 boys and 36 girls aged between 37 to 69 months (mean = 4 years and 4 months). The role models were one male adult and one female adult.
The children were matched on the basis of their pre-existing aggressiveness. They did this by observing the children in the nursery and judged their aggressive behaviour on four 5-point rating scales. It was then possible to match the children in each group so that they had similar levels of aggression in their everyday behaviour. The experiment is therefore an example of a matched pairs design.
There were three main conditions – the aggressive condition, non-aggressive condition and the control group.
The children in the aggressive and non-aggressive condition were further subdivided by sex and the sex of the role model they were exposed to.
This complicated design therefore has three independent variables. The condition the children were exposed to, the sex of the role model and the sex of the child.
The children were tested individually
In stage one of the experiment children were brought to the experimental room by the experimenter. The room was set out for play and the activities were chosen because they had been noted to have high interest for nursery school children. One corner was arranged as the child's play area, where there was a small table and chair, potato prints and picture stickers. After settling the child in its corner the adult model was escorted to the opposite corner of the room where there was a small table, chair, tinker-toy set, a mallet and a five foot inflatable Bobo doll. After the model was seated the experimenter…