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Social Cognitive Theory


Social cognitive theory explains how we can learn behavior through observation. It assumes that we learn behavior through observational learning. We can learn by watching models and imitating their behavior. The study suggest that we can learn more from people how we relate to, if we have a sense of self-efficacy. We can also imitate those how experience vicarious behavior. If you see someone getting punished or rewarded for e certain type of behavior, you are less likely to imitate that behavior. There are a couple of factors that involves the social cognitive theory. Attention, retention, motivation, and potential. 

Bandura conducted a study in 1961. The aim of the study was to determine whether children would imitate aggressive behavior from an adult. 

The children were aged 3 to 6 years old. There were 36 boys and 36 girls. Before the experiment all boys and girls were examined on how aggressive they were. This was down by their schoolteachers. Bandura used a matched-pairs design in order to make sure all the aggression levels were distributed evenly. There were three independent variables. The gender of the child, the gender of the model, and whether the model was aggressive or passive. The children were put in a room and told they couldn’t play with the toys to make them feel frustrated. The children then either had a male or female act aggressively, act passively, or they had no model at all. The last version was the control group. 

In the end all the children showed some form of aggression towards the bobo doll. However, the group with the aggressive model showed the most amount of aggression. Those with no model showed the second most aggression and those with a passive model showed the least amount of aggression towards the doll. In addition, the boys showed relatively more aggression than the girls. They boys showed more aggression if they had a male model then if they had a female model. Girls showed more physical aggression if they had a male model and more verbal aggression if they had a female model.

This study proves that you imitate and learn behavior from a model. And even more so if you have similar characteristics. The boys showed more aggression with a male model, because they have the same characteristics. They showed a sense of self-efficacy. Bandura’s study helps to prove the Social Cognitive Theory. 

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