Bandura, Ross and Ross

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Bandura developed the "social learning theory" which states that children develop through learning from the people around them. Social learning theorists believe aggression is learned under voluntary control, by observation and direct experience.
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To demonstrate that if children were passive witnesses to an aggressive display by an adult they would imitate this aggressive behaviour when given the opportunity.
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1. Aggressive model = aggressive child 2. Non-aggressive model = less aggressive child, general inhibiting effect. 3. Same-sex model = greater degree of imitation. 4. Boys more predisposed than girls towards imitating aggression.
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IV and DV?
IV = aggressive/non-aggressive condition, sex of model, sex of child. DV= whether the child imitated the aggressive behaviour
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Method? (Design, Experimental groups..)
Method = Lab experiment, Design=Matched pairs, 8 experimental groups, 1 control group. Data = Quant/Qual
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72 children aged between 37-69months, 36 boys and 36 girls. All from the Stanford University Nursery School.
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How were the sample split?
24 in each condition (aggressive, non-aggressive, control) with 4 subgroups of 6 in each (b with b, g with g, g with g, g with b)
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How were the sample matched?
On age, sex and pre-determined levels of aggression. Observed children in nursery, rated aggression out of 5, using categories including: physical and verbal aggression, aggression towards objects and agg. inhibition. Final score = 4 ratings added up
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How did they test for reliability when observing children before experiment?
To test inter-rater reliability of observers, 51 children rated by 2 observers independently and then their rating were compared. Ratings showed very high reliability correlation (r=0.89), showed observers have good agreement about behaviour.
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Outline "stage one" (once in room)
Agg = model begins to assemble tinker-toys but after 1min begins to act aggressively to 5ft Bobo doll, physcial=mallet, verbal="Sock him in the nose!" Non-agg=ignore Bobo, assembles tinker-toy set quietly. In room for 10 mins.
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Outline "stage 2"
Child taken to room with relatively attractive toys & subjected to "mild aggression arousal". As soon as child began to play, told that the toys "were being reserved for the nicer children!"
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Outline "stage 3"
Child moved to room with agg&non-agg toys,can play with any. Experimenter stayed. Non agg toys=teapot, crayons. Agg toys=3ft Bobo doll,mallet. Child in room for 20 mins, observed through one-way mirror. Obs made at 5sec intervals, total of 240 each.
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What were the response measures?
3 measures of imitation: Imitative physical agg (punching doll), imitative verbal agg ("Pow!") & imitative non-agg verbal. 2 types of non-complete imitation: Mallet agg, Sits on Bobo. Also recorded behaviour not imitative e.g.agg gun play
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Outline the results
Agg condition = more agg responses than non-agg condition. Boys made more than girls. Boys showed more if male was male. Girls in agg condition, more physical agg if model was male but more verbal agg if model was female.
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Strengths of study?
Experimental method - cause&effect established, high control, replicable. Bobo doll changed to 3ft for children so not intimidated by it. Both data types collected. High inter-rater reliability on pre-determined aggression
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Weaknesses of study?
Lacks EV - no context, dont know model, no interaction, unusual situation. Bobo doll meant for hitting - child may just be "playing". Unethical.
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Ethical issues?
Purposely aroused and distressed in stage 2, no right to withdraw in stage 3, unlikely fully informed consent so deceived.
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What year was this study conducted?
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Card 2




To demonstrate that if children were passive witnesses to an aggressive display by an adult they would imitate this aggressive behaviour when given the opportunity.

Card 3




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Card 4


IV and DV?


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Card 5


Method? (Design, Experimental groups..)


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