Theories and Theorists

Topics: Psychology, Developmental psychology, Albert Bandura Pages: 7 (1846 words) Published: April 26, 2013
Theories and Theorists
Many professions have theories and theorists, especially in the medical and psychological fields. Sometimes theories will develop by theorists doing new research, but at other times previous theorists theories are used by a new researcher to expand on the theory and possibly come up with a new theory of his or her own. This paper will help show theories and theorists important to psychology. Psychologists and researchers in this field use these theories often, which is what makes the theories and theorists important to psychologists and researchers in today’s society. Two theories will be discussed in more detail in this report to help show their importance to the field of psychology including the theorists, sources, and the basic tenets of the theories. The theories will be analyzed and assessed to find a relationship between them if any exists. Also, there will be an explanation on why these theories are important in the field of psychology and how they would relate to doing research on bullying in the school systems. Then as a final note there will be a reference list of five classic or influential works that are important in psychology.

Social-Cognitive Theory

The social cognitive theory was originally known as the social learning theory and was discovered by Albert Bandura. This theory helps with the development by using modeling and observational learning. Bandura also found that reinforcements and punishment work to help motivate the behaviors to imitate. Today the theory stresses the important of thinking, or cognition. The reasoning for this is because there is a strong emphasis on how a person thinks about him or herself and about others, which is why the name was changed to social cognitive theory. Children often watch other use self-praise and self-blame and get feedback about their own actions to help develop the self-efficacy and to set personal standards (Berk, 2010).

Many social learning theorists believe Bandura was right about moral behavior being acquired through reinforcements and modeling. Modeling helps to largely teach children moral behaviors. Punishments will only provide short-term or immediate behavior changes. Undesirable side effects can also occur from punishments, which is why reinforcements is the preferred method. However, positive disciplines can be effective in causing good conduct in children (Berk, 2010).

Ethological Theory of Attachment

John Bowlby discovered the ethological theory of attachment. With this theory one can see how an infant is emotionally attached to the caregiver which helps promote emotional survival, which is a viewpoint that is widely accepted by many theorists. Bowlby was inspired by Konrad Lorenz’s studies of imprinting (Berk, 2010).

Infants are born with built-in behaviors that help keep parents nearby to help protect the child and provide support for the child to explore the environment. There are four different phases of attachment that a child will go through which expands into adulthood. The pre-attachment phase is from birth to six weeks where the built-in signals keep the infants in contact with the others surrounding him or her. The attachment-in-the-making phase is from six weeks to six or eight months of age. During this phase the infant will respond to familiar people rather than strangers, and where the infants actions will affect the behaviors of the others which helps to build the sense of trust (Berk, 2010).

The clear-cut attachment phase occurs from ages six or eight months to 18 months to two years. This is when the attachments are evident and separation anxiety is displayed. The formation of a reciprocal relationship phase occurs from ages 18 months to two years and continues on throughout life. This is when the separation protests decline. Rather than protesting the separation negotiations will occur between the child and caregiver by using either requests or persuasion (Berk, 2010)....

References: Berk, L. E., (2010). Development Through the Lifespan (5th Ed.). Chapter 1: History, theory, and
research strategies
Berk, L. E., (2010). Development Through the Lifespan (5th Ed.). Chapter 5: Cognitive
development in infancy and toddlerhood
Berk, L. E., (2010). Development Through the Lifespan (5th Ed.). Chapter 6: Emotional and
social development in infancy and toddlerhood
Berk, L. E., (2010). Development Through the Lifespan (5th Ed.). Chapter 8: Emotional and
Social development in early childhood
Creswell, J. W., (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods
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