Aggression: Social Learning Theory

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What are the 2 types of aggression?
Affective Aggression (intended to harm another person or object). Instrumental Aggression (a means to an end).
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What is aggression?
Delivery of an aversive stimulus from one person to another, with an intent to harm & with an expectation of causing such harm when the other person is motivated to escape or avoid stimulus.
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What is Bandura's social psychological theory of aggression?
Social Learning Theory
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What does social learning theory suggest as an explanation for aggression?
Aggression is learned through direct reinforcement and vicarious (indirect) reinforcement.
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What's direct reinforcement?
Personal experiences of receiving rewards or punishments for actions (operant conditioning). For example, if a child pushes another child and gets what they want, the action is reinforced and more likely to be repeated.
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What's vicarious reinforcement?
Aggression learned by modelling the behaviour of others (mostly if models are rewarded). For example, if child sees older sibling throwing a tantrum and getting what they want they will do the same.
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What type of determinism has this often been called?
Reciprocal Determinism.
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What 2 things are key in reinforcement as learning?
A role-model (person whose behaviour could be copied) and self efficacy (the confidence needed to imitate certain behaviours).
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What are the 4 main steps in the 'modelling' process?
Attention, Retention, Reproduction, Motivation.
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Outline the step 'Attention'.
More likely to occur if the model is similar to you (same gender and is attractive/powerful, etc.) children must attend to what the aggressor is doing & saying in order to reproduce the model's behaviour.
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Outline the step 'Retention'.
The person must be able to store mental image of the aggressive behaviour of the model.
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Outline the step 'Reproduction'.
The person must be able to physically reproduce the behavior. More likely to reproduce aggression if you have low self-esteem or are highly dependent on others.
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Outline the step 'Motivation'.
The likelihood of performing the behaviour depends on reinforcement- witnessing someone being rewarded for their aggression gives motivation = makes imitation more likely.
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What study supports SLT?
Bandura
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What did Bandura show the children?
Split 66 nursery school children (3-5 yr olds) into 3 groups. All 3 watched film where adult kicked&punched a Bobo doll. Cond 1: adult model rewarded by 2nd adult. Cond 2: 2nd adult told off adult model. Cond 3: adult neither rewarded nor punished.
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What did Bandura do after the children had seen the films?
Children then allowed to play in room with Bobo doll while experimenters observed and rated their aggression.
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What did he find?
Condition 1 kids behaved most aggressively, condition 2 kids behaved least aggressively and condition 3 kids behaved aggressively. = all 3 groups showed same ability to reproduce models aggressive behaviour.
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How does this support the SLT of aggression?
shows that they do reproduce aggressive behaviour from observing a model and the reproduction of behaviour is increased with rewards and decreased with punishment.
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What are the negative evaluations of Bandura's Bobo doll study?
Bobo Doll = demand characteristic: exp gave cues which invited kids to play in predictable ways, e.g. bobo = inflatable= punch like a balloon. Only showed short term effects: may not apply later in life. Hard to generalise: children=impressionable.
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What are the positive evaluations of Bandura's Bobo doll study?
Well controlled (individual diff's controlled increased int. val. decr. extr. vari's). Very influential. Supported by other studies e.g. Hicks, and Johnson.
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What did Hicks find and what did Johnson et al find to support Bandura's study?
Hicks found that 40% of model's acts could be reproduced up to 8 months after showing of 10 min film. Johnson et al found that play aggression corr. w/ aggression by peers (0.76) and teachers (0.57)= play aggr. is a worthwhile measure of real aggr.
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What are the issues surrounding Bandura's study?
Ethics: children were not debriefed which could cause later psychological harm. Cultural Bias: Bandura is a Western Researcher.
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Evaluate the positive aspects of SLT.
Accounts for cultural/individual variations of aggression=exposure to different role-models. Explains why we behave aggressively in certain situations not others e.g. aggression is appropriate in sport, not in a classroom.
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Evaluate the negative aspects of SLT.
Oversimplified: people usually punished for aggresion, not rewarded. Doesn't explain impulse to aggress, e.g. even if you watched model behave aggr'ly you will only act if frustrated or aroused.
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How does SLT ignore other approaches?
Ignored evolutionary: males more aggressive. Ignored biological: testosterone. SLT claims that Amish society has NO aggression= deterministic and reductionist.
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What the debates of Social Learning Theory?
Free Will vs. Determinism= suggesting someone passively absorbs behaviour suggests they don't have a choice, however, not all behaviour is copied showing some free will. Reductionist= environmental reductionism.
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Card 2

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What is aggression?

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Delivery of an aversive stimulus from one person to another, with an intent to harm & with an expectation of causing such harm when the other person is motivated to escape or avoid stimulus.

Card 3

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What is Bandura's social psychological theory of aggression?

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Card 4

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What does social learning theory suggest as an explanation for aggression?

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Card 5

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What's direct reinforcement?

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