Bandura Social Cognitive Theory Albert Research Paper

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Bandura understands that the development of self is influenced by the environment but that the individual also has significant responsibility of determinism that makes the individual responsible for his or her behaviors. According to Boeree self-regulation is absolutely essential to behavior control and provides the backbone of human personality. Boeree describes the three steps that Bandura suggests that contribute to self-regulation; self-observation, or the process of observing our own behavior and then keeping track of it, judgment, or the comparisons we draw between our own behavior and that of the socially acceptable performance standards of our culture and environment, and self-response where we reward or sanction ourselves based on this perception of standards as compared to our own behavior. How one performs on this perceptive scale over the long-term forms the sense of self, i.e. If one generally perform well on this scale and receives much self-reward then he or she will be likely to have a good self-concept, while if the reverse is true and one over the long-term punishes him or herself often for not meeting this perceived standard then he or she will likely have low self-concept (Boeree, 2006). It is essential to understand that a skewed standard will likely result in low self-concept, if say an individual has a skewed sense of reality, or a skewed sense of how well others perform in the environment it will also likely result in a low self-concept. The skew can go either way, if the standard is too high even success will be viewed as not enough and if the standard is too low it may result in apathy or even self-aggrandizement. From these concepts Bandura derives three possible results from excessive self-punishment: "a. compensation -- a superiority complex, for example, and delusions of grandeur. b. inactivity -- apathy, boredom, depression. c. escape -- drugs and alcohol, television fantasies, or even the ultimate escape, suicide " (Boeree, 2006). It takes only a small leap to see how these three possible negative scenarios, affect individuals and society as a whole. In short just these three concepts can explain a whole string of serious social ills and possibly help to reduce their affects on individuals. According to Boeree, Bandura's advice to those who have poor self-efficacy and therefore a poor concept of self is to build on the following three steps:

1. Regarding self-observation -- know thyself! Make sure you have an accurate picture of your behavior.

2. Regarding standards -- make sure your standards aren't set too high. Don't set yourself up for failure! Standards that are too low, on the other hand, are meaningless.

3. Regarding self-response -- use self-rewards, not self-punishments. Celebrate your victories, don't dwell on your failures. (Boeree, 2006)

The development of this theory, as well as all its offshoots and challenges to individuals and society can aide in a greater understanding of self as well as a greater understanding of our role as influencers of others.


One can see from these brief descriptions of Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory the massive implications it has for transcending psychology and becoming a part of education theory, criminology theory, therapeutic models as well as many other social science applications. Criminology has utilized Bandura's work as a substantial basis for the development of juvenile deviance and crime causation and intervention (Isom, 1998).

Albert Bandura believed that aggression is learned through a process called behavior modeling. He believed that individuals do not actually inherit violent tendencies, but they modeled them after three principles (Bandura, 1976: p.204). Albert Bandura argued that individuals, especially children learn aggressive reponses [sic] from observing others, either personally or through the media and environment. He stated that many individuals believed that aggression will produce reinforcements. These reinforcements can formulate into reduction of tension, gaining financial rewards, or gaining the praise of others, or building self-esteem (Isom, 1998).

From these theories a whole school of thought and even treatment for juveniles in and out of the juvenile justice system are developed. The impetus of the intervention being the Bandura belief that early intervention will reduce deviance in the future (Bandura & Walters, 1959) (Bandura, Ross, & Ross, Imitation of Film-Mediated Aggressive Models, 1963) (Bandura a., Social Learning Theory of Aggression, 1978).

In education as well as other social sciences geared toward educating children and families regarding how to build better behaviors and grow community and civic responsibility Bandura is fundamental. Interventionist standards as well as teaching individuals self-efficacy, self-concept (self-esteem) as one of the most foundational aspects of early childhood education is a direct reflection of Bandura's works, noted here by Bandura himself;

There are three different levels at which perceived self-efficacy operates as an important contributor to academic development. Students' beliefs in their efficacy to regulate their own learning and to master academic activities determine their aspirations, level of motivation, and academic accomplishments. Teachers' beliefs in their personal efficacy to motivate and promote learning affect the types of learning environments they create and the level of academic progress their students achieve. Faculties' beliefs in their collective instructional efficacy contribute significantly to their schools' level of academic achievement (Bandura a., Perceived Self-Efficacy in Cognitive Development and Functioning, 1993).

These statements are fundamental to understanding the changes that have occurred in educational theory, application in the classroom as well as the whole school environment over Bandura's lifetime. Even changes in parental involvement, as well as early childhood educational theories regarding self-efficacy and self-esteem as well a good parental modeling are directly linked to Bandura and others who advocate for children with the overall goal of building a stronger and less aggressive society. Even early parenting role changes, occurring from Bandura's time to now have changed the manner in which parents think and guide their children.

In a clinical setting two particular models of therapy that seem to work very well for behavior modification are explained by Boeree as having been fundamentally derived from Bandura's works, self-control therapy, where the individual uses behavioral charts or diaries to better understand the when and why of his or her undesirable behavior, then uses environmental planning to avoid cues that might influence the behavior, and finally rewards him or herself with a self-contract for not performing the behavior or performing it less. Second Boeree describes another form of therapy, modeling therapy that allows the individual to view another performing a desired behavior and then is able to model the desired behavior him or herself (Boeree, 2006). Both of these types of therapy have broad implications, especially in education and in individual clinical behavior modification therapies and both are obvious outgrowths of Bandura's work. Bandura will likely continue to be a fundamental theorist in the social sciences and his works will also likely endure as a positive influence on society in general.


Bandura, a. (2006). Albert Bandura Cirriculum Vita.

Bandura, a. (2006). Guide for Constructing Self-Efficacy Scales. In F. Pajares, & T.C. Urdan, Self-efficacy Beliefs of Adolescents (pp. 307-337). Infromation Age Publishing.

Bandura, a. (1993). Perceived Self-Efficacy in Cognitive Development and Functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28 (2), 117-148.

Bandura, a. (1977). Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.

Bandura, a. (1978). Social Learning Theory of Aggression. Journal of Communication, 28 (3), 12-29.

Bandura, a. (1978). The Self System in Reciprical Determinism. American Psychologist, 33 (4), 344-358.

Bandura, a., & Schunk, DH (1981). Cultivating Compitence, Self-Efficacy, and Intrinsic Interest Through Proximal Self-Motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41 (3), 586-598.

Bandura, a., & Walters, R. (1959). Adolescent Aggression. New York: Ronald Press.

Bandura, a., Ross, D., & Ross, S.A. (1963). Imitation of Film-Mediated Aggressive Models. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 66 (1), 3-11.

Boeree, C.G. (2006). Albert Bandura. Retrieved August 10, 2010, from Personality Theories:

Eron, L.D., Lefkowitz, M.M., Huesmann, R., & Walder, L.W. (1972). Does Television Violence Cause Aggression? American Psychologist, 253-263.

Isom, M.D. (1998, November 30). Theorist -Albert Bandura: The Social Learning Theory . Retrieved August 10, 2010, from Criminology FSU:

Pajares, F. (2002). Overview of Social Cognitive Theory and of Self-Efficacy.…[continue]

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