Social Learning Theories

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Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory differs from Skinner’s learning theory as it recognises the importance of cognition as Albert Bandura believed that we aren’t ‘passive’ learners or accidental learners, we use mental processes to select what we imitate and watch. Social learning theory proposes that we learn through different types of ways which allow us to learn how to behave, the proposals are that we learn through observation as we observe the people around us when they behave in various ways, we learn through modelling or imitation as we think about the relationship between other people’s behaviour and the consequence that it brings, and we also learn through both direct and indirect reinforcement.
Effects of other individuals
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Behaviours that can be learned from others can be anything from violence and creating a short temper to being polite to people that you meet. Behaviours that you cannot learn from others and that you have had since you were very young can be anything from intelligence to aggression. The Bobo Doll study included 72 children form the Stanford University Nursery School, 36 girls and 36 boys whose age range varied from 3-5 ½ years old. There were three conditions in which 24 children were placed in each, 12 girls and 12 boys, the conditions were when an aggressive male or female would be in the room with the doll and would be attacking it, the second condition was a condition where the children were exposed to a non-aggressive adult who played with the doll in a quiet manner, and finally, the third condition was where the children were not exposed to any adult at all. The children who viewed the male or female adult behaving aggressively to a Bobo Doll were then left alone with the doll and observed to see what type of behaviour they would display and what was shown was that the children that had witnessed the aggression to the Bobo Doll imitated the adult’s aggression. Bandura concluded that learning can take place through observation called vicarious learning however he believed that observational learning cannot be the whole answer as people also have individual differences for example personality and genes. Overall, the study is plausible as it is a well-supported account of development and it can be applied to a wide range of behaviours as children observe every type of behaviour but they only imitate the behaviours that they think that they will benefit from. The Bobo Doll study takes into account cognition as
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