See Aggression... Do Aggression by Appi and Ian
Background • Albert Bandura, Dorothea Ross and Sheila Ross. • Wanted to test the idea of learning being the primary factor shaping personality. • Four hypotheses regarding imitating aggression, imitating non-aggression, imitating same-sex adults, and males being predisposed to higher aggression.
Methods • 36 boys and 36 girls (3-6 yrs) individually watch a male or female adult model either beat up and yell at a Bobo doll in anger, or do nothing. • Children are placed in a similar room with the same toys and are angered. • The experimenters watch and rate the children in terms of aggression.
Conclusions • Children imitated the acts of aggression they saw almost identically. • Children who were given non-aggressive models showed much less aggression. • Same-sex models had a greater influence on the aggression of boys than it did on girls. • Boys were significantly more aggressive than girls.
Historical Significance • Demonstrated how children can acquire new behaviors by observation of adults. • Social learning theorists say that most behaviors relating to personality are formed through this process. • Foundation for countless later studies about the influence of viewing violence in the media and in person on children.
Critiques Critics: Bobo Doll = Real Person? Fake aggression = Real aggression? Hanratty, O'Neil, & Sulzer, 1972: Children exposed to aggression to dolls later often aggressed against live people, even if the person wasn't the source of frustration.
Recent Applications Violence in the media: • U.S. Congress has held hearings on media violence. • Further research shows that effects of seeing media violence as a child last into adulthood. • Broadcasters have tried to put parental advisory ratings or lower media violence.