Bandura's Study

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To demonstrate that if children are a passive (inactive) witness to an aggressive display by an adult, they would imitate this aggressive behaviour when given the opportuniy in a new environment.


  • Children who observe aggressive acts of a model will reproduce them.
  • Observing a non-aggressive model or no model will inhibit aggressive behaviour.
  • Children will imitate same-sex models more than opposite-sex models.
  • Boys will be more predisposed (they are naturally born to do) than girls towards imitating aggression.

Research method

  • Laboratory experiment
  • IV = sex of child, sex of model, and behaviour of model that they were exposed to.
  • DV = level of aggressive behaviour shown
  • Observational method was used in room 3 where the children are observed for their aggressive behaviour.


  • 72 children from Stanford University Nursery School
  • 36 boys and 36 girls aged between 37 months-69 months.
  • Opportunity sampling, as they're using children who fit their criteria who are readily available
  • No parental consent
  • 48 children were exposed to the experimental condition.
  • 24 children were in the control group.

4 experimental groups

  • Aggressive male model
  • Aggressive female model
  • Non-aggressive male model
  • Non-aggressive femal model


The children were rated for levels of aggression by their nursery teacher and the experimenter, on a 5 point scale. The scales measured how much physical aggression, verbal aggression, aggression towards inanimate objects and aggression inhibition (the extent to which the child prevented from being aggressive when they were provoked. The 2 observers rated independently and then compared to test for inter-rater reliability. This showed a high correlation of 0.89, which suggests that the 2 observers mostly agreed on the aggressiveness of each child.


   Stage 1

The P's were put into 1 of 2 experimental conditions or a control group. The experimental conditions went through the same set procedure which involved the children being lead into a room where they were sat on a table and shown how to design pictures of flower and animals with potato prints and stickers provided.

The model was taken to a table and chair with a tinker-toy set, a mallet and 5 foot inflated Bobo


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