How research by Bandura and colleagues on social learning and aggression has contributed to our understanding of children’s behaviour This report aims to:
Give an understanding of what Bandura and colleagues experiment (1963) entailed •
Explain how the results are important in gaining understanding of children’s behaviour
Albert Bandura was a Canadian psychologist with a keen interest in social learning (Oates, 2012). In 1963 he, together with Dorothea Ross and Sheila Ross, conducted an experiment which explored to what extent children would imitate the aggressive behaviour they saw performed by another person either live, on film or as a fantasy figure on television towards an inflated five-foot clown doll, called the Bobo doll. The Experiment
In total, 96 children with an equal number of boys and girls, aged between 3 and 6 years, took part in the experiment (Oates, 2012). Every child took part individually but had been allocated to one of four groups, each with a different condition: Group one involved each child being taken into a room and shown how to play with some creative toys. Another researcher (the model) was then brought in and given some toys, including the Bobo doll, to play with. After a minute of playing with the toys, the model then started acting out aggressive behaviour towards the Bobo doll. After a period of around 10 minutes the child was taken into another room containing some more toys which the child was told they could play with but, as soon as they did, the experimenter told the child that they were saving those toys for the other children to play with. The child was then taken to a third room which contained a selection of aggressive and non-aggressive toys, including the Bobo doll. The children were allowed to play freely for 20 minutes while Bandura and his colleagues filmed them. Group two followed a similar experience but rather than a live model behaving aggressively towards the Bobo doll, the children were shown a...
References: Oates, J. (2012) ‘Learning from watching’ in Brace, N. and Byford, J. (eds) Investigating Psychology, Oxford, Oxford University Press/Milton Keynes, The Open University.
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