Social Learning Theory

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Social Learning
Although there are many behaviors that we as humans (and animals as well) learn directly, there are also behaviors that we learn from each other. This is called the Social Learning Theory or Social-Learning Approach. With the aid of Albert Bandura, social learning possesses three core concepts to further explain its general idea, including learning through observation, how mental states affect learning, and how learning does not mean a change in behavior (Cherry). The Social Learning Theory or Social-Learning Approach primarily originated from the works of Albert Bandura. “Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action” (Bandura, Social Learning Theory, 1977). Although his working theory expanded on the general idea of traditional learning, Bandura exclaimed that direct conditioning could not be responsible for every instance of learning. He introduced a social aspect, proposing that rather than directly modeling their behaviors after one another, people observe other scenarios and behaviors in order to create a method they are ultimately comfortable with. Social learning would be considered a type of operant conditioning, in which social learning occurs through a system of rewards and punishments. A modern day example includes the way that people dress. A person’s style may be affected by external influences such as advertising and someone else’s style, however – as per what Bandura says – a person will subconsciously retain that information and its outcome to create the best reinforcements for itself. The social-learning approach can be simplified into three concepts: learning through observation, how mental states affect learning, and how learning does not mean a change in behavior. Learning through observation, also known as modeling and imitation, exhibits how...
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