Explain the Social Learning Theory

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Explain the Social Learning Theory, making reference to two relevant studies.

By Tanisha Sabhaney

Behaviouristic theories of learning are essentially theories of conditioning and emphasize the role of reinforcement in learning. One of the mot predominant theories is Albert Bandura’s social learning theory, which assumes that. People learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors which is called observational learning, that is an indirect form of learning known as vicarious learning and indirect forms of reinforcement which is called vicarious reinforcement .Bandura renamed SLT as social cognitive theory to accommodate the ever increasing importance in his thinking of cognitive factors .SLT has also been enriched by Bandura with his views about the effects of a person’s belief in their own effectiveness in specific situations also known as self –efficacy. According to Bandura, social learning involves a few factors such as, attention where the individual must pay attention to the model and must be able to remember the behavior they have observed so basically retention per se . The observer must be able to replicate the action and must have the motivation to demonstrate what they have learnt .Although motivation to imitate behavior of a model is quite complex. As certain factors have to be taken into consideration, the observer or learner must like the model and identify with the model, as humans tend to imitate people who are like themselves. An observer is more likely to imitate a model that is consistent across situations than someone who behaves in different ways depending on the situation. Also it has been argued by Bandura that people can learn from observing others, not necessarily experiencing the consequences of these actions, themselves. Throughout this essay a detailed account with appropriate reasoning and causes of SLT will be given.

People learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. it is a viewed as a direct form of learning based on direct forms of reinforcement. To support this study in 1965 Bandura, Ross and Ross tested 36 boys and 36 girls from the Stanford University Nursery School aged between 3 to 6 years old. The role models were one male adult and one female adult. Under controlled conditions, Bandura arranged for 24 boys and girls to watch a male or female model behaving aggressively towards a toy called a 'Bobo doll'. The adults attacked the Bobo doll in a distinctive manner - they used a hammer in some cases, and in others threw the doll in the air and shouted "Pow, Boom”. Another 24 children were exposed to a non-aggressive model and the final 24 child were used as a control group and not exposed to any model at all. The researchers pre-tested the children for how aggressive they were by observing the children in the nursery and judged their aggressive behavior on four 5-point rating scales. It was then possible to match the children in each group so that they had similar levels of aggression in their everyday behavior. The experiment is therefore an example of a matched pair’s design. To test the inter-rater reliability of the observers, 51 of the children were rated by two observers independently and their ratings compared. These ratings showed a very high reliability correlation (r = 0.89), which suggested that the observers had good agreement about the behavior of the children. The children were tested individually through three stages. In stage one, Children entered the experimental room individually and the model was invited in. The model went to a corner containing a tinker toy set, a mallet and 5ft inflatable Bobo doll. In the non-aggressive condition the model ignored the Bobo doll. In the aggressive condition the model was aggressive towards the Bobo doll using distinctive, easy to imitate (and identify) actions. The model put the doll on its side, struck it with the mallet, tossed it in the air, kicked round the...
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