Social Learning Theory The bridge between Behaviourism and cognitivism.
Main Assumptions • Behaviour is learnt from a combination of others’ behaviour and expectation of reinforcement or punishment for copying what is seen. • It combines principles from the behaviourist and cognitive approaches. • Imitation of others’ is a key idea.
Principles of SLT • Bandura explains learning as more complex than the STIMULUS-RESPONSE approach of behaviourism. Playing down classical conditioning and reflexes, he emphasised two parts to learning: • Observational Learning • Expectancy
Observational Learning • This is learning of behaviour from observing the behaviours of others and then imitating it, or, in the case of children, learning through identification. However, imitation is not automatic.
Expectancy • Behaviour will only be copied if there is an expectancy of reinforcement for doing so. A child, for example, watches an aggressive adult winning a fight. This sets in the child’s mind the expectancy of winning by using aggression and the child copies the aggression for this reason. This means that cognitive processes are involved in the SLT.
Cognitive processes involved • Attention • Retention • Reproduction • Motivation
Not all models are copied, it depends on certain issues: • Appropriateness • Relevance • Similarity • Warmth and Friendliness • The model having power • Admiration • Consistency
Differences between SLT and Operant Conditioning • In SLT behaviour is only informed by reinforcement. In behaviourism, behaviour determined by reinforcement. • SLT works FWD, Behaviourism works BWD • Behaviourism dismisses Cognitive Processes. SLT bring in Memory and Attention.
The Bobo Doll Experiment • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCETgT_Xfzg&feature=related
Strengths • Adds cognitive processes to behaviourist principles • Based on lab experiments • Less deterministic and reductionist • Good at explaining specific imitated behaviour • Explains development of culture and complex behaviours
Limitations • Doesn’t explain how cognitive processes work • Still concentrates mostly on external behaviour • Lab experiments are artificial • Criticisms of Bobo Doll studies • Not good at explaining learning of abstract ideas