Albert Bandura is renowned as the main motivator behind social learning for his introduction of the social cognitive theory. Even though he restricted his approach to the behavioral tradition, Bandura was mainly concerned with the influence of cognitive factors on development. Similar to other behaviorists, Bandura believes that cognitive development is not the only way for explaining changes in childhood behavior. Moreover, Bandura also believed that learning processes are basically responsible for development of children. Nonetheless, this theorist believed that cognitive abilities of the child have strong influence on his/her learning processes. The concept of the impact of cognitive abilities on a child's learning processes is particularly true in relation to more complex types of learning.
Albert Bandura was born on December 4, 1925, in northern Alberta, Canada as the youngest and only boy child among six siblings in a family of European descent (Tom, n.d.). Bandura's parents immigrated to Canada during their adolescence years with his father originating from Poland while the mother from Ukraine. While both of his parents never had any formal education, their parents highly valued educational achievement. The high value that Bandura's parents placed on educational achievement is evident in the fact that his father taught himself to read three different languages i.e. German, Polish, and Russian.
As learning was mainly left to the student's own initiative because of shortage of teachers and resources, Bandura spent his elementary and high school years at the only school in town. While the school was largely limited, it produced an uncommon class of graduates, most of whom went to attend universities in other parts of the world. After his graduation from high school, Bandura worked at the Alaska Highway in Yukon filling holes to prevent it against constant sinking.
During his adult years, Bandura attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in order to continue his education. His choice of psychology as a major basically came by total chance since he realized that an introductory psychology course would help in his schedule at the early time slot though he intended to major in one biological science. This decision to major in psychology was fueled by the fact that he commuted every morning to the university together with engineering and pre-med students who begun their day early. Following his decision to take the class in introductory psychology, he became very interested in psychology and even decided to concentrate on it. In 1949, Bandura graduated with the Bolocan Award in Psychology, which is an award presented to the top student in psychology.
Bandura's interest in learning theory and behaviorist tradition was developed when he went to the University of Iowa to pursue graduate study and obtained his Ph.D. In 1952. It was during his years while studying at University of Iowa that he met Virginia Varns, an instructor at the College of Nursing and later got married in 1952. The two became parents of two daughters, Mary and Carol, who were born in 1954 and 1948 respectively. Following his graduation from University of Iowa, Bandura took a post-doctoral position in Kansas City at the Wichita Guidance Center in Wichita. He later accepted a teaching position at Stanford University in 1953 where he teaches to date.
Context with which Bandura's Theory was developed:
The development of his social learning theory is largely attributed to his time at Stanford University when he started working on family patterns that result in aggressiveness in children. During this period, Bandura carried out his work on familial causes of aggression in collaboration with his first graduate student, Richard Walters. The familial causes of aggression were recognized through identifying the main role of learning by observing others. In their analysis Bandura and Walters discovered that hyper-aggressive adolescents usually had parents who modeled hostile attitudes. While these parents would not bear aggression within the home setting, they demanded that their children to be tough and deal with issues or conflicts with their peers through physical means if necessary. As a result, these adolescents usually replicated the aggressive hostile attitudes that they learnt or perceived from their parents. The influence of these findings in the development of social learning theory is evident from the fact that it contributed to Bandura's first two books on adolescent aggression and aggression from a social learning analysis.
Following the knowledge he obtained on how individuals learn better through observation, he expanded his work to conceptual modeling of rule-governed behavior. The results from this work motivated Bandura to carry out a program of research on social modeling through the use of an inflatable doll. Through the involvement and participation in these studies, children were exposed to models that were either showing violent or non-violent behaviors towards the doll.
During these studies, children who viewed violent models eventually demonstrated some form of aggression towards the doll while those within the control group infrequently displayed aggression. As a result, Bandura concluded that the children changed their behaviors through mere observation of a model rather than personal reinforcement. Consequently, the findings were in huge contradiction of the standard behavioristic learning theory. While Bandura concurred that the behavior of human beings change through reinforcement, he proposed and verified empirically that people can learn behavior without the experience of direct reinforcement.
Bandura's Social Learning Theory:
As previously mentoned, Bandura is widely renowned for developing the social learning theory after his interest in the field of psychology that he chose as a major in the university by complete chance. The main concept regarding the theory is that people learn from each other through observation, modeling, and imitation. In most cases, Bandura's theory has often been referred to as the bridge between cognitive and behaviorist learning theories since it incorporates attention, memory, and motivation.
Generally, behaviorism focuses on experimental methods and variables that can be observed, evaluated, and manipulated. This concept mainly avoids whatever is intrinsic, subjective, and unavailable or whatever is mental in short. Through the experimental method, the standard process is to influence a single variable and then evaluate its impact on others or another. These processes basically boil down to the theory of personality that suggests that an individual's environment contributes to his/her behavior.
For the phenomena he was examining i.e. aggression in adolescent, Bandura found this argument to be simplistic and decided to add certain aspects to the formula or argument. During this process, he proposed that environment contributes to behavior though behavior contributes to the environment as well. Since he argued that the world or environment and an individual's behavior cause each other, Bandura named this argument or concept reciprocal determinism (Boeree, 1998).
Moreover, Bandura went a step further by examining personality as a relationship between three things i.e. An individual's psychological processes, behavior, and the environment. The person's psychological processes encompass his/her ability to entertain images in the mind and language. Notably, Bandura stopped to be a rigid behaviorist when he introduces imagery and joins the cognitivists. Consequently, the theorist is largely considered as the founder of the cognitivist movement. This is primarily because adding language and imagery to the concept enables Bandura to theorize much more efficiently than other cognitivists. Bandura effectively mixed two things that are widely regarded as the main aspects of human species i.e. modeling or observational learning and self-regulation.
Through his studies on children's behaviors towards the Bobo doll, Bandura examined a considerable number of variations on the study. This process involved punishing or rewarding in various ways, changing the model to be less prestigious or less attractive, and rewarding the children for their limitations. The variations in the studies were mainly geared towards establishing the various steps involved in the process of modeling. Actually the variations enabled Bandura to ascertain that there were various steps in the process of modeling. The various steps in observational learning and self-regulation are the main concepts and postulates by Albert Bandura.
These various steps in observational learning and self-regulation as suggested by Bandura include & #8230;
In order for a person to learn anything, he/she needs to careful consider or pay attention to the various features of the modeled behavior (Moore, 1999). However, there are several factors that contribute to the amount of attention given to the modeled activities or behavior by an individual. These factors basically originate from the attributes of the observer and the individual being observed as well as competing stimuli.
If the modeling individual or object is dramatic and colorful, the observer tends to pay more attention. Similarly, if the person being observed seems to be specifically competent, prestigious, and attractive, the observer also pays increased attention. Since learning requires a person to pay attention, anything that hinders or decreases attention is also going to decrease learning even observational learning.
In addition to attention, a person must be able to retain what he/she has paid attention to through incorporating mental images, symbolic rehearsal, symbolic coding, motor rehearsal, and cognitive organization ("Social Learning Theory -- Bandura," n.d.). If a person is impacted by observing behaviors,…