Communication Theory (Social Cognitive Theory)


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  • Knowledge acquisition can be directly related to observing others
    Depending on whether people are rewarded or punished for their behavior and the outcome of the behavior, that behavior may be modeled.
    Further, media provide models for a vast array of people in many different environmental settings.
  • Imitation
  • In some case modeling is not enough
    Social Cognitive Theorist turn to operant conditioning concepts of rewards/punishments in social learning contexts
    Reinforcement is central to social learning process
    Operant conditioning (or instrumental conditioning) is a type of learning in which an individual's behavior is modified by its consequences; the behaviour may change in form, frequency, or strength
  • The effects are not dependent on actual rewards and punishments but on reinforcement
    According to Albert Bandura, vicarious reinforcement works because of the concepts of outcome expectations and outcome expectancies
    Vicarious reinforcement - Reinforcement that occurs when you imitate the behavior of someone who has been reinforced for that behavior, as when avoiding hot water having seen another person burned by it.
  • Communication Theory (Social Cognitive Theory)

    1. 1. Social Cognitive Theory Tara Wilkinson-McClean. PhD. Candidate Media & Communications Lecturer
    2. 2. Key Concepts Observational Learning Modeling Inhibitory Effect Disinhibitory Effect Outcome Expectations Identification Self-Efficacy
    3. 3. Observational Learning When they are ‘models’ in an individual’s environment, learning can occur through the observation of these models
    4. 4. Modeling Direct mechanical reproduction of behaviour
    5. 5. Effects Inhibitory Effects Model Punished Disinhibitor y Effects Model Rewarded
    6. 6. Reinforcements Outcome Expectation s Outcome Expectanci es
    7. 7. Outcome Expectations When we see models being rewarded and punished, we come to expect the same outcomes if we perform the same behaviour
    8. 8. Outcome Expectancies Value attached to these expectations Expectancies consider the extent to which any particular reinforcement is seen as a reward or punishment Different things are rewarding to different people Value of reward influence extent of social learning
    9. 9. Identification If an individual feels a strong psychological connection to a model, social learning is more likely to occur. Identification springs from wanting to be and trying to be like the model with respect to some broader quality.
    10. 10. Self-Efficacy Observer’s ability to perform a particular behaviour and the confidence the individual has in performing the behaviour. Practical prerequisite to behavioural change.
    11. 11. Recap Learning occurs when an individual observes a model performing a behaviour and being rewarded or punished for that behaviour From this observation, the learner develops expectancies about what will happen when he or she performs the behaviour and these expectancies will influence learning and subsequent behaviour Learning will be moderated by the extent to which the individual identifies with the model and feels a sense of self-efficacy about performing the task