Albert Bandura & Social Cognitive Theory

Topics: Psychology, Social learning theory, Gender Pages: 10 (3359 words) Published: July 6, 2012
Albert Bandura & Social Cognitive Theory
Denise A. Vega
Liberty University
PSYC 341
July 1, 2012
Professor Timothy Bouman


The contributions Albert Bandura made to the understanding of social learning have led to further investigation and new findings. Social Cognitive Theory is Bandura’s greatest contribution to social, cognitive, and abnormal psychology. It has led to a greater understanding of human behavior and how humans learn behavior in a social context. Ultimately, modern research found that while Albert Bandura and other social learning theorists uncovered many aspects of learning and perception, there are factors that need further scrutiny, (Martin, Ruble, and Szkrybalo, 2001). The ability to produce more research is the epitome of a good theory. Bandura’s theories led to the gender aspect of social learning theory. That is, it led modern-day researchers to ask questions regarding how children learn to perceive gender in regards to gender role, performing good or bad deeds, and being famous.

Albert Bandura: A Legacy in Psychology

Albert Bandura was born on December 4, 1925 in Mudare, which is a small town in Alberta, Canada. He is the only male and youngest of six children. His sisters took it upon themselves to hearten young Albert to be individualistic and self-sufficient. Because he grew up in a small and rural town, education had its limitations. In spite of the limitations his schooling situation presented, Bandura thrived and flourished into a brilliant scholar. Life experiences shaped his perception of life. While attending the University of British Columbia, Bandura took an introductory course to psychology merely because it fit into an open early morning timeslot. Upon completing said course, he changed his major to psychology. Bandura completed his degree in psychology in three years 1949. He proceeded to move to the United States where in 1951, Bandura accomplished a graduate degree from the University of Iowa. During this time The University of Iowa was pivotal to the study of psychology. In fact this institution was essential to Bandura’s development as a psychologist and theorist. In regards to University of Iowa Bandura said, “The Iowa Psychology Department was not Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. It was, indeed, an intellectually lively and demanding place where major theoretical issues were pursued with a passion. It was refreshingly free of colorless eclecticism.” (Pajares, 2004). Upon completing his graduate’s degree, Bandura then completed his PhD in clinical psychology from University of Iowa in 1952. After accomplishing his PhD, he accepted a position at Stanford University in 1953. He is still a faculty member at Stanford University till this day. It is here where Dr. Bandura has conducted some of psychology’s most vital research on subjects such as social learning. Bandura’s findings in observational learning have led to imperative advances in behavior modification therapies (Bandura & Walters, 1963). Bandura has received numerous honors and awards for his work throughout the years. This includes the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contributions award in 1980, the American Psychological Association’s Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology award in 2004, and the William James award of the American Psychological Society (Pajares, 2004). According to the Review of General Psychology, Bandura is among the top psychologists of the 20th century. He is esteemed among greats like B.F. Skinner, Jean Piaget, and Sigmund Freud. Social learning theory or more recently known as Social Cognitive Theory, is one of Bandura’s greatest contributions to psychology and really to a better understanding of humanity. Social Cognitive Theory

Prior to Social Cognitive theory, behavioral therapies focused on behavior reinforcement purely through the means of psychoanalysis or conditioning (reward or punishment)....
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