psychology- Social Learning Theory

Topics: Psychology, Observational learning, Albert Bandura Pages: 12 (4254 words) Published: December 18, 2013
Albert Bandura was born December 4, 1925, in the small town of Mundare in northern Alberta, Canada;as the youngest & only son in a family of eight. Bandura's introduction to academic psychology came about by a fluke;Bandura graduated in three years, in 1949, with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia, winning the Bolocan Award in psychology, and then moved to the then-epicenter of theoretical psychology, the University of Iowa, from where he obtained his M.A. in 1951 and Ph.D. in 1952. Arthur Benton was his academic adviser at Iowa, giving Bandura a direct academic descent from William James, while Clark Hull and Kenneth Spence were influential collaborators.While at Iowa, he met Virginia Varns, an instructor in the nursing school. They married and later had two daughters. It was there that he came under the influence of the behaviorist tradition and learning theory. After earning his Ph.D., he was offered a position at Stanford University. Bandura accepted the offer and has continued to work at Stanford University in 1953, which he holds to this day. In 1974 the American Psychological Association elected him as president. Over almost six decades, he has been responsible for groundbreaking contributions to many fields of psychology, including social cognitive theory, therapy and personality psychology, and was also influential in the transition between behaviorism and cognitive psychology.A 2002 survey ranked Bandura as the fourth most-frequently cited psychologist of all time, behind B.F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, and Jean Piaget, and as the most cited living one. Bandura is widely described as the greatest living psychologists and as one of the most influential psychologists of all time. SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY

Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. 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." -Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory, 1977

The social learning theory proposed by Albert Bandura has become perhaps the most influential theory of learning and development. While rooted in many of the basic concepts of traditional learning theory, Bandura believed that direct reinforcement could not account for all types of learning. His theory added a social element, arguing that people can learn new information and behaviors by watching other people. Known as observational learning (or modeling), this type of learning can be used to explain a wide variety of behaviors. Behaviorism, with its emphasis on experimental methods, focuses on variables we can observe, measure, and manipulate, and avoids whatever is subjective, internal, and unavailable -- i.e. mental. In the experimental method, the standard procedure is to manipulate one variable, and then measure its effects on another. All this boils down to a theory of personality that says that one’s environment causes one’s behavior. Bandura found this a bit too simplistic for the phenomena he was observing -- aggression in adolescents -- and so decided to add a little something to the formula: He suggested that environment causes behavior, true; but behavior causes environment as well. He labeled this concept reciprocal determinism: The world and a person’s behavior cause each other. Later, he went a step further. He began to look at personality as an interaction among three “things:” the environment, behavior, and the person’s psychological processes. These psychological processes consist of our ability to entertain images in our minds, and language. At the point where he introduces imagery, in particular, he ceases to be a strict behaviorist, and begins to join the ranks of the cognitivists. In fact, he is often considered a “father” of the...
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