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PSYCH 2B03 Lecture Notes - Walter Mischel, Albert Bandura, Donald Broadbent

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Jennifer Ostovich

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Cognitive Social Leanring Theory
Albert Bandura & Walter Mischel
- behaviourist learning approach and cognitive approach combined in this theory
- no pure behavioural personality behaviour
o behaviourist don’t think that the construct of “personality” is useful, doesn’t see any value for it
- introspection: ask subjects to look inside themselves, and analyze the perception into it’s component sections
- professors had a lot of power, so students analyzed into elements of consciousness of which their professor
wanted/own professor’s theories literature showed contradictory views (1865~1900s)
History of Behaviorism
- John B Watson: Radical Behaviorism
o Began with methodological behaviourism: we have to focus as a science on things that we can
publicly observe. And behaviour is the only thing that meets that criteria
o Cannot rely on the truth of introspective reports of the contents of somebody else’s unconsciousness
unreliable, unverifiable
o If we rely on overt, observable behaviour (including speech) safe, everyone can repeat and get
same results
o Psychology has to be rooted in publicly observable, verifiable behaviour
o Methodological behaviourism (the method we should use): Recording, observing behaviour
- Went on to be more radical. Then said that there’s no thing as consciousness/thought thinking is just
subtle muscle movements (imaging doing something muscles actually move a little bit)
o Psychology should not, cannot, talk about the interior life
o Radical behaviourism: Nothing about thinking, emotion, nothing outside observable behaviours
they do not exist, none of them are real, therefore do not talk about them at all
- Behaviourism is a method, as a way of getting information about why and how people behave, was a great
idea had taken off dramatically in mid 1920s
o Became and remains the dominant way of doing psychology- you study behaviour
o We are all methodological behaviourists
- Within few years of publishing behaviour manifesto, left academia as he got in trouble in an affair with a
graduate student went into advertising
o Widely credited for having invented the celebrity endorsement (convinced princess of Bohemia to sell
a hand cream) modify behaviour or whatever
- In 1920s, there was a split everyone remained methodological behaviourist, but some people did not want
to give up on theorizing what’s going on in the head of subjects group who tried to develop a large scale
model of how learning takes place (behaviourists stressed: behaviours come about primarily from learning).
- Studies demonstrating the power of learning (in relation to behaviour):
o Pavlov: classical conditioning
o E.L. Thorndike Instrumental Learning
Named and studied instrumental learning/operant conditioning
Relationship between behaviour and consequences
Animals in puzzle box: if behaviour was followed by reward/satisfying consequence, it
became more frequent. if followed by unsatisfying consequence/punishment, became less
Study patterns of re-enforcement and how that impacted behaviour
o Upsurge in interest in basic learning principles (could be done at lab, experimentally) dominated
for next 40 years
o Maslow worked with Thorndike for several years when he was starting out
o Thorndike wanted to develop a general/mathematical model of learning equation which describes
how learning takes place
o General learning theory developed
Mathematical equation which describes how classical + instrumental learning takes place
understand more fully how things work
Trying to figure out how processes were in a math formula, they tried to develop a
mathematical model of learning:
Clark Hull (was a big deal)

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Kenneth Spence (@ university of Iowa, where Bandura did his PHD later)
- A second group, led by B.F. Skinner: Radical behaviourism returns
o Wanted to completely ignore internal processing, didn’t want to theorize didn’t want theory in his
o Study relationship between patterns of reinforcement and patterns of resulting behaviour (schedules
of re-enforcement)
o Wanted a purely empirical theory
o Determine what relationship was between stimulus presentation and behavioural output and then
catalogue input/output relationships no theory at all
- Rule in psychology was to never talk about the mind, don’t talk about things that you cannot observe
- Exploring the mind was un-thinkable
History of Cognitivism
- Methodological behaviourism is dominant, but radical is dead due to a second “revolution cognitive
- difficult to pinpoint the history of cognitivism
- had original roots back in experimental psychology when people were interested in mind, thought,
consciousness also came up with work on human memory disappeared in the tide of wave of
methodological/radical behaviourism, came back in 1940s’: began in England during the war years, two people
primarily involved:
- Alan Turing: Digital computer
o Mathematician, computer guy
o Previously, computer referred as a person who did computation
o Part of team that first developed computer
Motivation was from the enigma machine (Germans), wanted a machine which could de-
code the messages
o Metaphor for mind: mind is like a computer, wired in programs that run by itself- takes in information,
spits out data/makes decisions by themselves based on built in rules (unlike telephone or something)
information is being processed, thinking is happening people began to turn to cognitive view
again- should be thinking, talking about the head, what happens when information comes in
o People studying memory, read list of words to subjects, asked them to repeat words back
immediately afterwards the learning model is that you form a chain (associate 2nd word with 1st
word etc, so when you retrieve, you start with first word, brings you to 2nd) but some people didn’t
do this- they gave them in categories (e.g. furnitur, animal, flower words)- did not fit learning model
how did they re-organize? there’s activity going on, what is happening?
o Need to think about it, hypothesize and infer leaning towards cognitive approach
- Donald Broadbent: Selective Attention
o Why were operators not alterning fighter commands about the bomber fighters?
o Began work on selective attention: paying attention to something while ignoring everything else
o Developed model of auditory selective attention: noisy room, but person can focus in on one
conversation, follow in and ignore the others developed model: storage areas, different systems,
flow of information etc.
o First cognitive model (multi store model of memory) What’s going on in the mind?
o Became classic model of memory (developed into), short term and long term memory etc.
(Broadbent: S system and P system short term and long term- basically the same) remains
powerful model of memory
o Because of the successes, cognitive approaches became more popular, replaced behaviour model of
not being able to make inferences
o Late 1960s, cognitive model became dominant, replaced behavioural model
Didn’t replace methodological behaviourism: still looking at overt behaviour of participants
but going beyond that, drew inferences from those: what sort of mental processes were
going on to produce what we see/the data
o Methodological behaviourism + theoretical cognitism came together into one model/work of
Bandura and Mischel

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Bandura and Mischel
- Bandura: important bobo doll study impact of exposing children to violence
o Canadian, eventually went to Standford
o Release violent drives, will become less aggressive
o Ran study: showed them movie of a clown playing with toys in a play room some saw clown doing
gentle things, other saw him kicking the toys etc. boys let loose in room, boys who saw peaceful
interaction behaved the way they saw, and boys who saw aggressive clown did what they saw-
o People not interested as the boys did it with toys not real people
o Ran study again, instead of bobo doll, had person in a clown suite sent boys in again, boys wacked
the clown as they saw
o They will express against human begins if they were exposed to violence
- Mischel: younger, Jewish family from Vienna, who moved to NYC
o Trained as a social worker, trained in psychoanalytic processes
o Experience led him to give up psychodynamic approaches as he went into practice
o Worked under number of people who were pioneers of cognitive approach became cognitivist (it’s
the way we think that matters, the way we interpret things) eventually moved off to Stanford
(collaborated with Bandura), then went to Columbia- still publishing
- Classical behaviourism: classical, operant conditioning consequences of your behaviour that mattered
- Here (combination): add social learning, learning not just from being reward/punished yourself, but by
watching others (observational learning) this is how personality changes
- Bandura came to fame with social learning of aggression, Mischel came to prominence in late 60s, with work
entitled Personality and Assessment still in print
o When he wrote the book, dominant approach: trait approach (still is)
o Mischel trained in cognitive personality, took a different angle: criticized the trait perspective, said
that it cannot possibly be the best way to look at personality if you assume the existence of stable,
underlying characteristics/traits, then you expect to see high correlations between an individuals self
reported traits and their behaviours in any situation, also expect there will be high correlation
between behaviours of an individual in different situations
Summary: according to the trait perspective, expect high correlation between (1) measured
traits and behaviour and (2) between behaviours in different situations
o Surveyed literature:
if you looked at correlation between measured traits and actual behaviour in a situation, it’s
remarkably low (0.3)
Square correlation: proportion of variance in those two measures (behaviour) that can be
accounted for by the correlation
0.3 correlation: only 10% of variability in behaviour can be accounted for by its relationship
with traits
Then looked at correlation of behaviours in different situations of same individual expect
correlation to be high since behaviour is governed by stable underlying traits? Yet
correlation was only about 0.3 only about 10% of variance between situations can be
accounted for by traits, 90% variability accounted by something other than traits
conclusion: highly generalized behavioural consistencies have not been demonstrated, and
concept of personality traits as broad dispositions is thus untenable condemned the trait
o People studying trait theory were not advancing, Mischel’s critique energized the trait perspective
trait theorists realized that they have problems, rethink ideas/relationships that were hypothesized,
construct better measures critique set them busy, led to the increased dominance of the trait
theory since the late 1970s
o Mischel has come to an understanding with the trait theory, and about how it can come together
with his cognitive behaviour work come down to debate, discussion, and even compromises
instead of competition
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