Jerry D. Nicholson
Student ID: 21273100
October 7, 2007
Albert Bandura is one of the pioneers in the study of human development. His biographical background lays a good foundation for the basis of his work as a psychologist. His social cognitive theory will be examined in detail to highlight the effect that environment has on behavior. There are four basic features to the theory introduced by Bandura that will be discussed; (1) observational learning, (2) self-regulation, (3) self-efficacy, and (4) reciprocal determinism. All four features combined will prove to offer a keen insight into the environmental aspect of our behavior. Albert Bandura: The Social Cognitive Theory
Often the course of our lives can be altered through unexpected circumstances and events. The Bible clearly teaches that plans made for the future can certainly be rearranged at a moment's notice. Advice is given in the Scripture to make sure that reliance is not placed on a set agenda, but rather the will of God. James 4:13-14 says, "Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." There are occasions when chance encounters completely redirect the charted path that was originally intended to follow. These events play an important role in the basis for the social cognitive theory.
Albert Bandura, one of the architects of the social cognitive theory, was born in the small town of Mundare, Alberta on December 4, 1925. He grew up the only boy in a family of six. His parents immigrated from Poland and the Ukraine while he was still a child. His childhood was marked by strong support from his older sisters. They encouraged him to be independent and self-reliant. There were few teachers and little resources in the school that he attended, so he was forced to learn something about self-discipline and motivation. In that environment, learning was left up to the students, and this seemed to suit Bandura well. One interesting note from his school years is the fact that all of his fellow classmates went on to attend college.
After graduating from high school, Bandura spent the summer working on the Alaska highway. This particular experience allowed him to rub shoulders with different kinds of people. He came into contact with individuals who were dealing with financial and marital trouble. He also met those who were facing the possibility of being drafted into the military. These individuals displayed varying degrees of psychopathology. This experience in Bandura's life would eventually kindle his desire to become a psychologist. When his summer work was complete, he enrolled in the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Bandura believed that his decision to become a psychologist happened by accident. He chose to ride to school every day with a group of pre-med and engineering students. The students had a practice of waking early. Rather than making the decision to sleep late, and find an alternate means of transportation to school, he decided to enroll in a psychology class that was offered at the same time. His initial study of psychology fascinated him, and led him to the decision to choose it for his major. In retrospect, Bandura would later look back on this particular experience in his life as an important influence that helped to shape the career path he would eventually follow.
He graduated from college within the span of three years. After doing so, he began his search for a graduate program in clinical psychology that had a base with a strong learning theory. His academic advisor suggested that he consider the University of Iowa. Bandura made the decision to leave his beloved...