Cognitive Social Learning Theory

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Cognitive Social Learning Theory
John Tabro
May 3, 2012

Cognitive Social Learning Theory

I have selected this theory primarily because I believe that a great majority of our learning during the course of our entire lives is achieved by observation. Bandura’s social cognitive theory is a learning based on the ideas that people learn by watching what others do and that human thought processes are central to understanding personality. While social cognition experts agree that there is a fair amount of influence on development generated by learned behavior displayed in the environment in which one grows up, they believe that the individual person is just as important in determining moral development. People learn by observing others, with the environment, behavior, and cognition all as the chief factors in influencing development. These three factors are not static or independent; rather, they all thrive off of the other. According to social learning theory, modeling influences learning primarily through its informative functions. Those observers (children) retain a symbolic representation of the modeled behavior, which then serves as a blueprint for the behavior. We all essentially learn by example. We may not necessarily need to imitate the example or carry it out, but we learn by example nonetheless. Observational learning incorporates four components, attention, retention, reproduction and motivational processes that help to understand why individuals (children) imitate socially desirable behavior. Attention, being the first component, parents teach children through observational learning throughout their lives. By paying attention and observing children learn such tasks as tying shoes, washing dishes and driving cars. It also has its negative moments (as I mentioned earlier) primarily when children imitate behaviors that they’ve seen on television or in other social engagements. For the learning to take place, whether intentional or unintentional, a...
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