Describe and Discuss the Social Learning Theory of Gender Development

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Describe and discuss the social learning theory of gender development - 10 marks The social learning theory states that gender is effectively learned through others. It also states that there are no differences between males and females psychologically. This would lead to the fact that gender differences occur because of society and other factors such as culture and religion. Firstly, the social learning theory states that individuals learn or develop behaviours through attention and retention. For example through attention the boy watches his dad playing rugby however through retention the boy may recall the things his dad does when fixing a car. This leads to the fact that an individual learns their gender from people in which are surrounding them. These people are called potential models. They may learn off potential models such as family members, teachers or friends or they can learn of other symbolic characters for example characters in TV programmes/books or celebrities. In addition, the social learning theory argues that the individual solely learns about their gender role by copying and acting in ways they see their models behaving. The two conditions that contribute to an individual performing behaviour are because of reproduction and motivation. Imitation then occurs when the individual reproduces that certain behaviour for example a girl might see her mum cooking then she later attempts to cook herself. However individuals are more likely to reproduce behaviour from role models in which they relate to. For example a little boy to his dad, he might copy his dad’s actions more then his mums. After the individual imitates behaviour reinforcement takes place. Reinforcement occurs when the behaviour rewarded by a positive outcome. For example a little girl may help her mum in the kitchen and her mum may praise her for this. The girl likes to be praised so will keep helping her mum in the kitchen. However, the outcomes in which occur after a behaviour...
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