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Social Learning Theory

Social Learning Theory

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Social Learning Theory

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  1. Social Learning Theory “One difficulty with many learning theories is their almost exclusive emphasis on the processes of acquisition of behavior and performance, and their almost total neglect of the content of personality” ~Julian Rotter, 1972

  2. Radical Behaviorism Pros and Cons • Pros: “Scientific” • Deals with observable, measurable phenomena • Rigorous methodology • Con: Ignores the things that make humans “human” • Cognitions • Emotions • “Free Will”

  3. Albert Bandura’s (1960s +) Social Learning Theory aka Social Cognitive Theory Put the “person” back into personality Therefore….

  4. Theoretical Foundations of Social Learning Theory • Psychodynamic explanations of behavior are flawed • They are based on inferred drives/needs/etc., which cannot be tested • They ignore conscious cognitions • They ignore situational influences • Radical behaviorism is flawed • It ignores cognition and emotion (Rotter’s “content of personality”) • e.g., Assumes that actual reinforcement is necessary for learning to occur • e.g., Rejects free will

  5. Overt Behavior Environmental Influences Personal Factors (beliefs, expectations, self-perceptions) Bandura’s Triadic Model of Reciprocal Determinism

  6. Beyond Reinforcement 1 • External reinforcement isn’t the only way in which behavior is acquired, maintained, or altered • We can also learn by observing, reading, or hearing about others’ behavior • We develop anticipated consequences for our behaviors • Even for behaviors we’re never engaged in • Our cognitive abilities give us the capability for insight and foresight

  7. Beyond Reinforcement 2 • Bandura’s biggest contribution to learning theory: • New patterns of behavior can be acquired in theabsence of external reinforcement • We can pay attention to what others do, and repeat their actions • i.e., We learn through observation, rather than through direct reinforcement

  8. Self-Regulation and Cognition • We can exercise control over our behavior through self-regulation • We are not slaves to environmental influences • We have free will • Cognition allows us to use previous experiences, rather than trial-and-error, to foresee probable consequences of our acts, and behave accordingly • Self-regulation allows us to choose behaviors that help us to avoid punishments and move towards long-term goals

  9. Subjects 48 boys and 48 girls attending Stanford U Nursery School Mean age 4.3 years Ss are matched across experimental groups for degree of aggressive behavior shown in nursery school interaction Exposure to an aggressive model (4 conditions) Observe an adult model behave aggressive Observe same adult model and same behaviors, but on film Observe same behaviors performed by a cartoon character Control group (no observations) Bandura et al., 1963

  10. Response measures Total aggression Imitative aggression Partially imitative responses Mallet aggression Sitting on the Bobo doll Nonimitative aggression Aggressive gun play

  11. Girls Boys Male Female Female Male Cartoon Model No Model Control Real life model Film model Bandura et al. Results 1:Total Aggression

  12. Bandura et al. Results 2:Imitative Aggression Girls Boys Female Male Female Male Cartoon Control Real life model Film model

  13. Mallet Aggression Sits On Bobo Doll F M F M Cat Cntrl M F M Cntrl F Cat Real life Film Real life Film Bandura et al. Results 3:Partially Imitative Responses

  14. 140 Real life mode – Female Real life model – Male 120 Film model – Female 100 Film model – Male 80 Cartoon 60 Control 40 20 0 Girls Girls Girls Girls Boys Boys Boys Boys Total Aggression Imitative Aggression Mallet Aggression Sit on Bobo Doll

  15. Implications: Eron & Heusmann, 1985 Males 50 Females 40 30 20 10 0 Med High Low Med High Low Frequency of TV Viewing at Age 8 DV: Seriousness of Criminal Act by Age 30

  16. Modeling • We learn much of what we do through observing and speaking with others (“models”), rather than through personal experience • We form a cognitive image of how to perform certain behaviors through modeling, and use this image as a guide for later behaviors

  17. Basic Processes of Observational Learning 1 1. Attentional Processes (attend to and accurately perceive model’s behavior) 2. Retention Processes (remember the model’s behavior)

  18. Basic Processes of Observational Learning 2 3. Motor Reproduction Processes (translate symbolically coded memories of the model’s behavior into new response patterns) 4. Motivational Processes (if positive reinforcement is potentially available, enact the modeled behavior)

  19. Reinforcement in Observational Learning Types of Reinforcement • Vicarious reinforcement • Vicarious positive reinforcement • Vicarious punishment • Self-reinforcement • Reward or punish self for meeting or failing to meet own standards

  20. Empirical Evidence of Observational Learning • Children who see an adult behave aggressively might view that aggressive behavior as a positive thing (i.e., expect positive reinforcement of some type for that behavior), and therefore might imitate that aggressive behavior • Bandura & Huston, 1961 • Children imitate a model’s aggressive behavior in the presence of the model • Bandura, Ross, & Ross, 1961 • Children imitate a model’s aggressive behavior in a new setting, away from the model • Bandura, Ross, & Ross, 1963 • Will children imitate a film-model’s aggressive behavior?

  21. We learn all kinds of behaviors by observing others Why don’t we all just run around imitating every behavior we see? Performing the Right Behavior at the Right Time:Self-Regulation

  22. Overt Behavior Environmental Influences Personal Factors (beliefs, expectations, self-perceptions) Recall the Triadic Model of Reciprocal Determinism

  23. An important “personal factor” is the ability to self-regulate Some people are pretty good at this, some people aren’t so good Self-regulation is probably domain-specific (recall the “environmental influences” component of the triad model) Can regulate some things, but not others Self-Regulation

  24. Children who are able to delay gratification at age 5 are less likely to become alcoholics or drug addicts later in life Specific to appetitive rewards Delay of Gratification

  25. Summary • We acquire, maintain, and modify behaviors that we see others perform • We decide which behaviors to keep, and when to use them, by using: • symbolic thought (“what are my long term goals?”) • emotion (“damn that Bobo doll!!!”) • self-regulation (“I really want to stab my prof, but I need an A, so…”) • Bandura and other Social Learning Theorists put the “person” back into personality by stressing the interplay of personal factors, environmental factors, and behavior