Born on December 4, 1925 in
a small town called Mundare
in northern Alberta, Canada
(50 miles east of Edmonton).
He was the youngest and only
boy of six children.
Bandura graduated in 1949
from the University of British
It took him three years to
While employed at Stanford,
Bandura met the renowned
psychologist Robert Sears who
was exploring the familial
antecedents of social behavior
and learning and aggression in
collaboration with Richard
This research led to a program of
laboratory research into
This led Bandura to write his first
book, entitled Adolescent
His early work on
learning was grounded
in the behavioral
punishment, but he
added a focus on
This was labeled Social
Later on, Bandura focused
on cognitive factors such as
and expectations, his
theory is now called Social
Social Cognitive Theory
expands social learning
theory to include
Stop & Think
Does the violence that children observe on
television, movies, and video games lead
them to behave aggressively?
This is a hot question today, but it was also of
great interest years ago when Bandura led an
experiment to determine how kids learn
aggression through observation.
In a famous and influential experiment known as
the Bobo doll experiment, Albert Bandura and his
colleagues were able to demonstrate one of the
ways in which children learn aggression.
The experiment involved exposing children to
two different adult models; an aggressive model
and a non-aggressive one.
After witnessing the adult's behavior, the
children would then be placed in a room without
the model and were observed to see if they
would imitate the behavior they had witnessed
The participants for the experiment were 36 boys and 36 girls enrolled at
the Stanford University Nursery School. The children ranged in age
between 3 and almost 6 years, and the average participant age was 4 years
There were a total of eight experimental groups. Out of these participants,
24 were assigned to a control group that received no treatment. The rest of
the children were then divided into two groups of 24 participants each. One
of the experimental groups was then exposed to aggressive models, while
the other 24 children were exposed to non-aggressive models.
Finally, these groups were divided again into groups of boys and girls. Each
of these groups was then divided so that half of the participants were
exposed to a same-sex adult model and the other half was exposed to an
opposite-sex adult model.
Before conducting the experiment, Bandura also assessed the children's
existing levels of aggression. Groups were then matched equally so that
they had an average level of aggression.
Children exposed to the violent model
tended to imitate the exact
behavior they had observed
when the adult was no longer present.
Bandura and his colleagues had also
predicted that children in the nonaggressive group would behave less
aggressively than those in the control
The researchers were also correct in
their prediction that boys would
behave more aggressively than girls.
Boys engaged in more than twice as
many acts of aggression than the girls.
Boys who observed an adult male
behaving violently were more
influenced than those who had
observed a female model behavior
Interestingly, the experimenters found
in the same-sex aggressive groups,
boys were more likely to imitate
physical acts of violence while girls
were more likely to imitate verbal
Bandura and his colleagues
believed that the experiment
demonstrates how specific
behaviors can be learned through
observation and imitation.
They were far less likely to
imitate if they saw the adult
model being punished or
reprimanded for their hostile
Several studies involving
television commercials and
videos containing violent
scenes have supported this
theory of modeling.
In a follow-up study conducted in
1965, Bandura found that children
were more likely to imitate
aggressive behavior if the adult
model was rewarded for his or her
Albert Bandura believed
television was a source of
is learning by doing
and experiencing the
consequences of your
is learning by
if people can learn by
watching, they must be
focusing their attention,
and making decisions that
Human beings have specific
abilities related to learning
that sets them apart from
Social cognitive theory
states that there are three
characteristics that are
unique to humans:
(Model and imitate others)
Self–efficacy (self reflection)
Performance standards and
moral conduct (Ability to
regulate one’s own behavior)
In order to learn through observation, we have to pay
In teaching, you will have to ensure students’ attention to
the critical features of the lesson by making clear
presentations and highlighting important points.
In order to imitate the behavior of a model, you have to
Retention can be improved by mental rehearsal or by
Once we “know” how a behavior should look and remember the
elements or steps, we still may not perform it smoothly.
In the production phase, practice makes the behavior
smoother and more expert.
4. Motivation and Reinforcement
We may acquire a new skill or behavior through observation, but
we may not perform that behavior until there is some motivation
or incentive to do so.
If we anticipate being reinforced for imitating the actions of a
model, we may be more motivated to pay attention, remember,
and reproduce the behaviors.
Vicarious Reinforcement – the observer may simply
see others reinforced for a particular behavior and then
increase his or her production of that behavior.
3. Self-Reinforcement – or controlling your own
This reinforcement is important for both students
We want our students to improve not because it leads to
external rewards, but because the students value and
enjoy their growing competence.
If one goal of education is to produce people who are capable of
educating themselves, then students must learn to manage their
own lives, set their own goals, and provide their own
In adult life, rewards are sometimes vague and goals often take a
long time to reach. Think about how many baby steps are required
to complete an education.
Life is filled with tasks that call for self-management
Students may be involved in any or all of the steps in
implementing a basic behavior change program.
Self- Management –use of behavioral learning
principles to change your own behavior.
1 --Goal Setting
2 --Monitoring and Evaluating Progress (assignments
completed, time spent practicing a skill, number of
books read, etc.)
--One key to accurate self-evaluation seems to be for
the teacher to periodically check students’ assessments
--Self-correction can accompany self-evaluation.
At times, families can be enlisted to help
their children develop self-management
Working together, teachers and parents
can focus on a few goals and, at the
same time , support the growing
independence of the students.
You have been assigned to an emotionally
disturbed student. She seemed fine at
first, but now you notice, she often
interrupts or teases other students. How
would you work with this student and the
class to improve the situation?
Albert Bandura. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2003
from the Francis Marion University website:
Albert Bandura. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2003
from the Minot State University website:
Albert Bandura: Biographical Sketch. (n.d.). Retrieved
October 6, 2003 from the Emory University website:
Boeree, C. G. (1998). Personality Theories: Albert
Bandura. Retrieved September 12, 2003 from the
Shippenberg University of Pennsylvania website:
Isom, M. D. (1998, November 30). The Social Learning
Theory. Retrieved September 18, 2003 from the
Florida State University, Department of
Moore, A. (n.d.). Albert Bandura. Retrieved September
18, 2003 from the Muskingum College website:
Peebles, V.R. (2003, March 28). Social Learning Theory
Presentation. Retrieved October 6, 2003 from the
University of Toronto at Mississauga website:
Woolfolk, A. (2008). Educational Psychology Active
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