Chapter 3: Social Learning and Culture

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17 May 2011
Chapter 3: Social Learning and Culture
Positive reinforcement – rewarding socially desirable behaviour
Behaviourism and Social-Learning Theory
American environmentalism: The Behaviourist Tradition
oBehaviourism focused on how the envir shape observable behaviour and
have surfaced in social-learning theories of personality
oUtilitarianism: an idea that a good society should make the greatest
happiness or pleasure for the greatest number of people; more egalitarian;
advocate for equality of gender; pragmatic (practical) and nondogmatic;
supports behaviourism that a person’s life can be changed by learning
since it is shaped by pleasure and pain
oClassical Conditioning: unconditioned stimulus (US) elicits an
unconditioned response (UR); neutral stimulus (NS) presented before (US)
becomes the conditioned stimulus (CS) when the (NS) elicits the UR or
now the conditioned response (CR); effect of association
o^example: Little Albert: NS – rat, CR – fear of rat, US – loud noise, UR –
fear; stimulus generalization when Little Albert elicit fear when he sees
white furry obj
oHigher order conditioning: when CS are used as a US for other NS by
virtue of association
oThis association can be found feelings elicited by words and phobias
oWhat is learned can be unlearned
oOperant conditioning (instrumental): behaviour modified by consequences
oShaping – process of reinforcing closer and closer approx to desired
behaviour in an attempt to elicit that behaviour
oDiscriminant stimuli – different appropriate behaviour for different
settings (ie. Child in classroom vs playground); in multitude of settings, a
behaviour is reinforced then generalization will occur
oPartial reinforcement – a particular response rewarded intermittently
oContinuous reinforcement – a response rewarded everytime
oIf response not reinforced, extinction can occur
oPositive and negative reinforcer – any stimulus, presented or removed
after response, respectively increases the probability of response
oConditioned generalized reinforcer – reinforcer that is associated with a
variety of other reinforcer like money
oEmphasizes on empirical studies and quantification
Expectancies and Values
oRotter introduced cognition to behaviourist accounts of human personality
oA person actively constructs his/her reality rather than merely responding
oExpectancy (E) – subjectively probability that a specific reinforcement
will occur after eliciting the desired behaviour; can have different
expectancies for different situations; expect good grade if work hard,
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expect work hard to mend relationship not likely to earn satisfaction –
different expectancies to the pay off of hard work
oGeneralized expectancies = locus of control (LoC); internal – expect
reinforcement to follow own actions; external – expects that own
behaviour will not lead to predictable reinforcement and given by more
powerful others or chance, reinforcing events do not appear to be
contingent to one’s behaviour; leave it up to fate
oI-E Scale – self-report scale used to measure locus of control; shows that
LoC is an impt social-cognitive variable in personality
oPeople with internal LoC tend to be independent and healthy information
seekers who adapt well to challenges but can be hindered if the
environment is nonresponsive – a person is in an envir which ones effort
is repeated ignored
oReinforcement value (RV): how attractive a reinforcement is to a person;
can change over time
obehaviour potential (BP) needs to look at expectancies and reinforcement
value; BP = E + RV
oMischel incorporated cognitive/social learning/person variables
oStrategies to approach situations stem one’s previous experiences with
both situations and awards – expectancies and value
oCognitive/social learning – competencies: what one knows and can do
(one might be good at making small talks), encoding strategies: how one
interpret information
oSelf-regulatory systems and plans – how one’s self-imposed goals and
standards guide and regulate one’s behaviour
Bandura’s Social-Learning Theory
oObservational Learning
Learning doesn’t have to be reinforced but may proceed through
simple obs and imitation
Four sequential steps (77)
1. attentional processes – observing model, can refer to
features of model that grabs the attention of observer
(modeling stimuli) (ie. Being very distinct) and (observer
characteristics) (ie. Observer is blind)
2. retention processes – encode and remember and make sense
of what one is observing
3. motor reproduction processes – how capable to perform
what is observed and how well matched to observed
4. motivational processes – how much the observer want to
imitate behaviour
obs learning in language dev, impulse control, friendship
One area of study in social learning is aggression showing the
strong formation and performance of aggressive responses from
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observation (TV); also evidence that ones with aggressive
tendencies tend to expose themselves to more violent displays
circular cycle
Children more likely to imitate model of same sex, perceived
powerful and model’s behaviour reinforced by others
One’s belief that one can successfully carry out courses of action
required to deal with prospective situations (behavioural
competence in a particular situation)
High self efficacy = strong belief that one can perform a particular
behaviour, low self efficacy = strong belief that one cannot
perform the behaviour
Different from outcome expectancies – one’s belief of the end
result of a particular action; whether behaviour will produce
desired results
show that ones attending child labour classes manifested high
self-efficacy and better ability to cope with pain during labour and
delivery and resist using medication
heightened self-efficacy reduces anxiety and push person into
action; immuno-enhancing – stress experienced in process of
building up mastery and self-efficacy may strengthen one’s
immune system
sources of self-efficacy:
performance accomplishments – past experiences in
attempts to achieve goal – strong regulator
vicarious experience – witness of other’s success and
failures as a predictor for one’s success in similar situation
verbal persuasion – being told by others one can/cannot do
a task may increase or decrease self-efficacy
emotional arousal – the feel of self-efficacy is influence by
level and quality of emotional arousal, degree of anxiety
felt provides info on degrees of difficult and stress the task
The Social Ecology of Human Behaviour
People learn and perform behaviours within a social ecology, which consists of
many environmental contexts shaping and influencing the person’s life.
Feature 3.A: How Should Parents Raise Their Children?
oChildrearing is based on cultural ideal of being a good child and good
adult (good = healthy and happy), western societies – ideal personality
traits – competence, mastery and independence
oFour styles of parenting:
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