Bandura’s Social Learning Theory

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Historical Background of SLT
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John Watson (1913) = goal of psychology should be able to predict and control overt behavior – not to describe and explain conscious states (introspection) “Little Albert” (1920) played with a white rat every time he played with something they would bang something loudly with a hammer to the extent that he became conditioned to cry when he saw toys Children as “lumps of clay” to be shaped by environment “…treat them as though they were young adults. Dress them, bathe them…let your behavior always be objective and kindly firm. Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit in your lap…shake hands with them in the morning. Try it out…you will find how easy it is to be objective with your child…” treat them as adults and they will act like adults
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Major Tenets of Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (SLT)
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Origins in Behaviorism/Learning Theory SLT = guiding belief that behavior is learned from environment Children acquire new behaviors and modify old ones as they encounter their social world Bandura focused on observational learning – imitation (new behaviors acquired via watching a model) Cognitive component NOT stage-like progression hence we can assume culture has a huge impact Emphasis on Social Context as source of exhibited behavior individuals learn from social others children acquire new behaviors and modify old ones as they encounter their social world Emphasis on Types of Learning (3)
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Different Types of Learning that Bandura put an emphasis on
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Observational learning: acquiring new skills/info by watching others (not trial & error) Vicarious Learning: imitation when model is not present (e.g., magazine) Vicarious Reinforcement: observing others being reinforced leading to desirable behavior/imitation
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Triadic Reciprocal Determination (TRD):
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process by which 3 interdependent factors “DYNAMICALLY” interact reciprocally P = biological and psychological aspects of a person B = the person’s behavior E = environment *Recognizes the child’s behavior affects and could create his/her environment
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Self-Regulation
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“inner control”; self-monitoring via goal setting, self-direction, self-evaluation
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Bandura’s SLT Approach to Children’s Moral Behavior and Judgements
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In 1963, Bandura & McDonald conducted a research study to examine whether observational modeling was effective in promoting children’s moral reasoning He was challenging the stage theory approach (Piaget/Kohlberg) to understanding children’s moral development He was also challenging strict reinforcement principles (rewards/punishments – behaviorism) 3 Experimental Conditions Group 1: children observed adult models and were + reinforced Group 2: children observed models without reinforcement Group 3: no models but were positively reinforced Purpose was to show that it’s not enough to rely on learning principles but imitation of observable behavior is essential to learning desired behavior (e.g., moral behavior) Secondary Purpose was to show that you can model moral judgements/reasoning Presented Pair of Dilemmas and Asked: Who did the naughtier thing?” John opens door and breaks 15 cups Henry tries to get cookie jar but knocks over a cup Findings suggest that you can change children’s moral judgmental responses readily through utilization of adult modeling cues Bottom Line you can can shape a children’s moral thinking/behavior via modeling Adding reinforcement (operant principles) did not necessarily constitute a more powerful learning condition
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According to Bandura – For Successful Learning…- MUST KNOW
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Attentional processes matter Desirable model? Reaction to model? Past history? Circumstances? Retention processes matter (memory ability) Reproducing behaviors matter Motivational processes matter Symbolic activities (process used to internalize) Forethought (anticipation of consequences) Self-regulation; Self-efficacy
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Self-efficacy beliefs
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(confidence in your ability to do something) What determines self-efficacy? Past successes Vicarious experiences Verbal persuasion (“you can do it!”) Realistic assessment (physically, cognitively)
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Outcome expectancy (vs. efficacy)
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Person -> Behavior -> Outcome Person -> Behavior = self efficacy Behavior -> Outcome = outcome expectancy What is highly correlated with self-efficacy? extraversion (-neuroticism) decision or action orientation hope for success (-failure)
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Parent/Educational Implications of SLT
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Parents/Teachers as effective models warm, friendly, supportive? (positive ID) Not limited to academics (e.g., values/attitudes) Verbal instructions and cues (symbolic modeling) Imitated behavior within individual’s capacity Direct reward of imitative responses (modeling + reinforcement) Via peer model
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Critiques of Bandura’s Theory
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Strengths Appealing; all encompassing Self-regulation aspect Learning is from others; social interaction plays a huge role Limitations (Weaknesses) Cognitive processes are vague Rejects age-related changes yet lacks explanation of how advanced cognition occurs TRD: biology is a factor but its role is neglected Weak predictive power – too many possible environmental factors

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