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PSYC 332 - Intro to Personality

Course Code
PSYC 332
Richard Koestner

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Lecture 10: Friday January 28, 2011
The Social Cognitive Theory of Albert Bandura
Going Beyond Classic Learning Theory
Bandura – Canadian – Stanford University
Overview of Lecture Questions:
Video of Bobo Doll Experiment
Who is Albert Bandura and what is social cognitive theory?
oBegan as a graduate student, mainstream learning psychologist studying
oHit upon something he found interesting (observational learning)
oFrom there step by step, he moved further and further away from classic
learning theory and developed something quite elaborate, complex and
oIn the theory he developed a focus on observational learning, cognition,
and how environment isn’t exclusively acting upon us but how there is
reciprocal relationships between persons and environment
Bandura also examined a number of parameters that would influence if children would
Who is the model?
What happens to the model after they behave aggressively (reinforced or
Key Attributions of Classical Learning Theory
1. Organism is controlled by the environment.
2. Focus is on discrete, molecular responses.
3. Learning is the result of direct experience of the animal.
4. Reinforcement operates directly and automatically.
Social Cognitive Theory: Bandura
I. Background
oThe most influential theory in clinical psychology
oPeople have used this to a great extent in terms of how to work with
people clinically, or solve people’s health probelms
II. Attributes of Classic Learning Theory
oA. Organism is controlled by environment
What we do is a function of reinforcement or classical conditioning
We don’t exercise free will – our thoughts and emotions arent
really driving our behaviour
We are behaving bc of whats happened to us in the environment
Bandura challenges this notion he highlights there are important

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internal processes that guide and direct behaviour – mostly related
to cognition
oB. Molecular responses
Most experimenets involved pigons rats or mice
Behavioyr they looked at were pour presses – very narrow
microscopic kinds of behaviours
Many ppl would suggest that that’s not really representative of
what humans are capable of doing – more elaborate complex
behaviours should be studied
oC. Direct experience
Learnig was a result of direct experience – pairing btwn stimuli
and responses or responses and reinforcement
No room for idea that leanring could be done by observing or
internal processes
oD. Effects of reinforcement are automatic and unmediated by awareness
“Stamping in” of responses.
1, 3 and 4th principles Bandura challenges and he proved that classical learning theory
was limited and couldn’t explain the complexity of human behaviour
some would say he didn’t focus enough on the 2nd kind
III. Observational Learning
key concept Bandura began with
A. Acquisition vs Performance shaping and chaining;
Felt that different processes might be important to acquisitio and performance
Behavioural researchers before him, glossed over btwn distinction btwn how you
learn a behaviour and if you would remember it in the future (bc they focused on
very simply behaviours, and they suggested if there was a complex behaviour it
was through a process of shaping and chaining – if we have a social skill (ability
to make small talk) suggestion would be we learned this through successive,
approximations, where we would be reinforced for doing this
Through this process of hsaping and successive approximations you can train very
complex behaviours
Bandura – this is ridiculous – no way you can set up the environment so you can
be systematically reinforced to learn the kinds of complex behaviours and broad
patterns of behaviours humans show in their everyday life
B. The wide, wide domain of observational learning. (one trial learning)
reinforcements are critical to performance but acquisition is a result of observational
humans are social animals, we live in groups, we evolved to live in groups, we are
always looking around and trying to learn things from the way others are behaving
1) Complex overt behaviours
obc of observational learning we can develop this
oe.g. leanring how to hit a golf ball – we usually learn this through
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