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Social Learning Theory

Social Learning Theory

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This lesson will examine the social learning theory of personality that combines learning principles, cognition, and the effects of social relationships.

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Tutorial


What's Covered

This lesson will look at social learning theory by covering:

  1. Social Learning Theory
  2. Major Aspects


1. Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory is an expansion on behavioral learning theories. This theory says that there's more at work than just stimulus-response in reaction to different kinds of learning situations. A person is not passive in this whole thing. There are interactions within a person and between people that also affect learning and personality.

Albert Bandura is a psychologist that performed the bobo doll experiments in 1961-1963 . A Bobo doll is this inflatable clown that can be knocked down, and it will pop back up back up. It's a toy that kids would play with. 72 children in these experiments were placed in different rooms, with toys inside of them. Some of those children had an adult who would come in with them, and play with them.

Some of these children and adults would also be in a situation where the adults would display aggressive behavior towards the Bobo doll. Which is to say, sometimes they would punch it, hit it with a hammer, they would throw it, etc. The kids in the rooms with these aggressive adults, we're more likely to show aggressive behavior towards the doll, after the adult left.

Bandura called this observational learning.  This is learning about a behavior from watching another person model it. What the kids did was called imitation. Imitation is performing the same, or similar, behavior, observed in another person.

Term to Know

  • Imitation
  • Modeling or repeating behaviors we have seen others perform.

This influenced what Bandura called social learning theory which is an approach to personality that incorporates behavioral learning theory with cognitive and social theories. Under Bandura's social learning theory, the cognitive aspect also has an effect on the behavioral and social.


2. Major Aspects

There are three major areas to look at that show the elements important to personality and individual differences in social learning theory.

Expectancy is a person's thoughts about a reward or the effect of a behavior. If a person expects a reward to occur, that can influence whether a behavior is performed.

ExampleIf you offer somebody money for completing the chores, they're more likely to do it.

Term to Know

  • Expectancy
  • We learn to expect a response or a consequence following a behavior; from this, we learn to anticipate the response if we engage in a behavior.

Reinforcement value is the person's individual idea about the value of an activity. Different people have different ideas about what is rewarding. Internal reinforcement is the ways a person has of motivating themselves.

ExampleA sticker might be very rewarding for a small child, but, if you try to give a sticker to a teenager, it's not going to get them to perform a behavior.

Term to Know

  • Reinforcement Value
  • Costs/benefits have different values depending upon the individuals.

Self-efficacy is a person's belief that they can perform some task or action. This belief can effect if an action will be performed. If a person thinks that they're likely to succeed, they are more likely to do something.

ExampleYou're more likely to ask a person out on a date, if you think that you're going to succeed. You're less likely to do it if you think you're going to be rejected by that person.

Term to Know

  • Self Efficacy
  • Belief in our own ability to perform a behavior, that we are competent to accomplish specific tasks
  • Summary


    Social learning theory says there is more than just stimulus-response in reaction to different kinds of learning situations. Stated that there are interactions within a person as well as between people that play an important role. This was demonstrated in the bobo doll experiments. It showed that children could learn through observational learning and would perform imitation of behavior. There are three major aspects to this theory including expectancy, reinforcement (both internal and external), and self-efficacy.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Author Erick Taggart

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Expectancy

    We learn to expect a response or a consequence following a behavior; from this, we learn to anticipate the response if we engage in a behavior.

  • Reinforcement Value

    Costs/benefits have different values depending upon the individuals.

  • Self Efficacy

    Belief in our own ability to perform a behavior, that we are competent to accomplish specific tasks

  • Imitation

    Modeling or repeating behaviors we have seen others perform.