Bandura, Ross, & Ross (1961). Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models
In 1961, Bandura, D. Ross, and S. Ross conducted an experiment on 72 pre-school children to examine and explore the “Social Learning” theory. The Social Learning theory suggests that human behavior is observationally learned through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed. They predicted that subjects
The participants were chosen by opportunity sampling from Stanford University Nursery' School. Participants consisted of 36 boys and 36 girls, and two adults, a male and a female, both being a role model. The participants were divided into eight experimental groups of six subjects each and a control group consisting of 24 children. Half of the experimental participants viewed aggressive models, while the other half were shown nonaggressive models. These groups were then further divided into male and female subjects, and half of the children in the aggressive and non-aggressive groups observed same-sexed models, while the other half observed opposite sex models. The control group was not exposed to any adult models
The subjects were assessed on four five-point rating scales by the experimenter and a school teacher. These assessments measured the extent to which the children demonstrated verbal aggression, physical aggression, aggression toward intimate objects, and aggressive inhibition.
Subjects were individually brought to the experimental room and were escorted to one corner of the room, which was their play area. After seating the child at a small table, the experimenter explained how subjects could construct and design pictures with potato prints and picture stickers. The model on the other hand was brought to the opposite corner of the room which consisted of a small chair, table, mallet, tinker toy set, and a 5-foot inflated Bobo doll. The experimenter explained to the model that the materials provided was for him/her to play with.
With participants in the aggressive condition, the model assembled the tinker toys and portrayed acts of aggression towards the Bobo doll; the model continuously punched the Bobo doll, used a mallet to hit the Bobo doll’s head, and tossed it up the air and kicked it. Furthermore, the model interspersed with verbally aggressive comments such as, “Kick him…” and “Throw him in the air.”
Conversely, with subjects in the non-aggressive condition, the model assembled the tinker toys in a silent passive manner, and completely disregarding the Bobo doll. Moreover, the model made non-aggressive comments such as, “He sure is a tough fella,” and “He keeps coming back for more.”
After 10 minutes, the experimenter informed the subject that he would now be brought to another game room.
The subjects were then taken into another room filled with interesting toys, some of an aggressive type such as, a 3-foot Bobo doll, a mallet and a peg board, and some nonaggressive such as, a tea set, crayons, and coloring paper, a ball, and plastic farm animals.
The subjects were observed through a one-way mirror, and behaviors such as, physical aggression, verbal aggression, and the number of times the mallet was used to strike the Bobo doll was assessed.
Confounds within study:
There are minimal confounding variables within the experiment as Bandura, Ross, and Ross used a laboratory experiment method to conduct their research. The utilization of a laboratory experiment method allowed the experimenters to standardize conditions for all the subjects and acquire greater control of extraneous variables, which therefore led to a stronger internal validity. Internal validity is the degree to which an observed effect is due to the experimental manipulation rather than other factors such as extraneous variables.
Some possible confounding variables were avoided and controlled....