3. Bandura’s Social-Learning (or Social-Cognitive Theory)
Summary of Bandura’s Bobo doll experiments http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqNaLerMNOE
- Established role of observational learning
- Randomly assigned children to different ‘models’or the control group.
- Some models were reinforced for aggressively hitting the Bobo doll
- Some were punished – showed less aggression
- Some were just aggressive (no reinforcement/punishment)
What effect does it have on child’s behaviour – Results in more imitation of aggression?
Bandura’s concepts (in bold)
a) Obserational Learning – learning that is the result of simply observing the behaviours of another. This
form of learning does not require reinforcement; instead a model is required. Finally, a model may not be
intentionally trying to instill any particular behaviour in another, which explains how children learn
"Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the
effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned
observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are
performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action."
-Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory, 1977
Types of models that result in observational learning:
- “Live Model” being observed – most effective way to learn
o E.g. teacher, parents
- “Symbolic Model” – less effective than live models
o E.g. on TV
- “Verbal Instructional Models” – least effective
o E.g. parent says hitting is bad, but parent hits
Stages of Observational Learning: explains why observational learning doesn’t always occur from modeling
Cognitive part of his theory (Social Cognitive Theory)
1) Attention – whether the model is perceived as interesting, novel things are more likely to be imitated
- e.g. model after older child
2) Encoding – individual makes sense of behaviours/information in unique ways
- e.g. sees colouring inside lines, child scribbles
3) Retention – memory or repeated observations of models; remember what was observed
4) Production – ability to actually perform the motor skills observed
5) Motivation – Whether model was reinforced/punished affects observational learning
1. Observer’s self-efficacy – do they think they can perform what they observed successfully?
1 b) Self-efficacy – a person’s beliefs, attitudes, abilities, and cognitive skills comprise what is known as the
self-system. This system plays a major role in how we perceive situations and how we behave in
response to different situations. Self-efficacy is defined as the beliefs we have about whether (and to
what degree), we will be success at something. People with a strong sense of self-efficacy view
challenging problems as tasks to be mastered, form a stronger sense of commitment (effort) to their
activities and interests, and recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments. In contrast, people
with a weak sense of self-efficacy avoid challenging tasks, believe that difficult tasks and situations
are beyond their capabilities, focus on personal failings and negative outcomes and tend to quickly
lose confidence in their abilities.
2. popular in sports psychology; why girls don’t do as well in math in adolescence
According to Bandura, there are four major sources [Chp 10] of self-efficacy:
1. Mastery Experiences – actually performing a task successfully
2. Social Modeling – observing other people (similar to oneself) successfully completing the task
3. Social Persuasion – encouragement from others
4. Psychological Responses – emotional state (mood, stress level)
3. impacts the self-evaluations we have of our personal abilities (self-esteem)
B. Cognitive Theories: (1) Piaget, (2) Vygotsky, and (3) Information Processing
The cognitive theories offer different perspectives about how we acquire knowledge.
1. Piaget’s Cognitive-Developmental Theory (concepts in bold)
Piaget identified himself as a genetic epistemologist. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that is
concerned with the origin, nature, extent, and limits of human knowledge. Piaget was particularly interested
in discovering how humans understand their world in infancy, childhood, and adolescence (i.e., the
different ways or methods of knowing and understanding things). Because Piaget proposed that we come to
know the world in qualitatively different ways as we mature, his ideas are consistent with genetic
[Chp 1 – qualitative (developmental theories; stages) vs quantitative change]
a) What types of epistemological changes occur with age (according to Piaget)?
Name of Stage Age Range Nature of thinking – qualitative changes
Sensorimotor Birth to 18 months Infants are capable of using their senses and motor skills
to explore and comprehend their experiences (see/touch)
Pre- 18 mos to 6 years Preschoolers are capable of using their understanding of
operational symbols to explore and comprehend their experiences
Concrete 6 years to 12 years Elementary aged children are capable of using inductive
operational logic to explore and comprehend their experiences
Formal 12 years and older Adolescents are capable of using deductive logic to
operational explore and comprehend their experiences
2 Inductive logic (elementary school students)
1. hypothesis – testing
1. observations – detect logical patterns 2. argument/hypothesis
2. form conclusions, make connections 3. observations to test it
3. generalize to new things not observed 4. conclusions
b) What is the nature of the internal workings of our mind (according to Piaget)?
Piaget suggested that we sort the knowledge we acquire from our everyday experiences and interactions
into schemas.According to Piaget, our minds consist of an infinite number of schemas, which guide how
we perceive, interpret, explore, and understand our world. The information we gather from our everyday
experiences and interactions can either be assimilated into existing schemas or it can accommodate or
change our existing schemas.
Assimilation is the easiest method because it does not require a great deal of mental adjustment. When we
assimilate information, information is simply added to or incorporated into our existing schemas. The
process is somewhat subjective, because we tend to modify what we experience so that it fits our pre-
existing schemas (i.e., our pre-existing knowledge, expectations or beliefs).
Accommodation is the more effortful method of mentally dealing with what we experience as existing
schemas are revised, altered, or grouped in new ways.
In both assimilation and accommodation, we are adding new information to our existing schemas. The
defining difference is whether the information is modified to fit pre-existing schemas (assimilation) or
whether our schemas are modified to appropriately adapt to the new information (accommodation).
E.g. learned the word “clock” (can be analog/digital), assimilate “watch”
- Tort reality when we interpret things to fit our schemes (assimilate)
o Force information to be consistent of what I think
- Allow that information to change what we think; true learning (accommodate)
- Create dialectic tension (conflict) promotes accommodation
- Curriculum – “argue to learn”
- Encourage accommodation – in earners
- “conceptual change”
2. Vygotsky’s Social-Cultural Theory (concepts are in bold)
In contrast to Piaget, Vygotsky was interested in the role that social and cultural factors played in cog