Audrey Rawlinson, Laura Morgan, Rachel Rosenthal, Katherine Zboch, Alex Mainardi
Audrey Rawlinson Albert Bandura is a well-known and highly respected physiologist born in 1925 in a small town in Edmonton. Bandura is ranked the fourth most influential psychologist in the world, right behind Skinner, Piaget, and Freud. His interest in psychology began by fluke, when he was in the library at school looking through a course pamphlet left on the desk by a student. He had been trying to find a “filler” course to fill a gap in his schedule, and decided that psychology would be perfect for the job. His schooling consisted of a bachelors degree in Psychology which he achieved at the University of British Columbia, followed by his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology which he received from the University of Iowa in 1952. Shortly after, he began teaching at Stanford University, where his interest in observational and vicarious learning began. He is now known for his Social Learning Theory, which puts emphasis on observational learning, imitation and modelling (Cherry 2014). This theory suggests that we learn through the example of others as well as from direct experience with rewards or punishment. In addition, it contributes to an understanding of age-related change. His theory focuses primarily on social learning in children, as well as animals, and tells us how a child’s level of cognitive development affects his or her impression and reaction to the environment (Burke, Fein, Kassin, Markus.,p. 411) “Observational learning occurs when an organism’s responding is influenced by the observation of others, who are called models.” (Weiten, p. 211). As children, we do not have any context for how we are supposed to learn and who’s example we are supposed to follow. As a result, every person in our surroundings becomes a “model” for us to replicate or learn their actions and apply it to our own behaviour. This theory can apply to every age group, for example, first year University students will learn how to act in a lecture by observing those around them and adapting. Bandura was not the first psychologist to notice that children learn through observation. In fact, any person who is around a child often enough will have the ability to witness the child mimicking those around them. Twenty years before Bandura’s Bobo Doll experiment, that will be discussed in detail below, Neal Miller and John Dollar published the first scholarly book about observational learning called “Social Learning and Imitation”. Their study was still considered to be behaviourism, but it took a slightly different path than Bandura. Instead of focusing solely on social and personal rewards, they emphasized the importance of motivation and drive. Although their work was slightly different, Bandura’s work formed a more concrete theory that better proved the theory of observational learning. For this reason, his work is recognized significantly more than theres.
The social learning theory is a theory that was created by Albert Bandura which studies the, “roles of thinking (cognition) and of learning by observation (modeling) in human behavior” (Bee, Boyd, Johnson, 47). Bandura’s theory can be categorized with those of the behaviorist’s as it touches on cognitive theories among other things. When talking about Bandura’s social learning theory, it is important to recognize the connection between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories as they both contain the study of attention, motivation and memory. Social learning theory is similar to Vygostky’s social development theory.
In discussing Bandura’s research, it is critical to reference the experiment that is known as the ‘Bobo doll’. In this experiment Bandura proves to show that children learn their behaviors from watching adults, and imitate these behaviors when put in similar situations. In this specific