Behavioral Learning Essay

Submitted By StormingBridges
Words: 1171
Pages: 5

(1) What is learning?

According to our text, chapter 6, page 210 and again on 250, learning is defined as an "experience that causes a permanent change." In regards to Bandura's Bobo experiment, our text shows that when the children observed the adult model's behavior, it was quickly assimilated, and repeated. The text also states that the children in the study showed sensitivity to consequences of observed actions (Bandura, Ross, & Ross, 1963), which shows that they not only had the ability to repeat the behaviors they witnessed, but to also to understand the difference between punishment and praise for specific behavior, and respond accordingly. Children are like little sponges, they soak up all that they see and hear, and at times, display their learning at the most inopportune moments. I feel certain that most of us have experienced our children saying or doing something that they have observed us doing, that we wish they had not. The upside is that we as parents learn from our mistakes and are more aware of our behavior when the children are within earshot or in direct view.

I have two sons, Brad and Jeff, who are 13 months apart in age.Brad was always an over achiever and wanted to learn about everything he saw. He had to understand the mechanics of everything he touched, even when it had consequences or held painful results. Brad was about seven years old when we decided to block certain channels on the television, because Brad was learning from the shows he was watching. He decided to rig outrageous jumps for his bicycle after watching Evel Kinevel perform dangerous stunts on his motorcycle. Even trips to the emergency room and broken bones did not hamper Brad's adventurous spirit. On the upside, Jeff would observe Brad's actions, results, and stay away from endeavors that caused physical harm or came with punishments attached. Jeff did not have to experience such things for himself, because he was learning by observing his older brother.

(2) Discuss your own theory about how observational learning occurred in regards to the Bobo Experiment. How does this compare to Bandura’s idea that for observational learning to occur one must give attention to the behavior, retain the observation of the behavior, have the motor skills to carry it out and also have the motivation to do so?

My understanding of the mechanics behind Bandura's Bobo experiment involve more than mere observation of specific behaviors. When the adult model displayed aggressive behavior towards Bobo, it captured the attention of the children, because they learn by adult example in their every day life. When the behavior was seen as acceptable, they reasoned that they too could behave in the same manner. Their memory of what they had seen was then repeated with great accuracy in displaying their own aggressive behavior toward Bobo. The children who witnessed punishment for such behavior were able to reason that they would be punished for similar behavior, and were less aggressive.

In my high school childhood development class, I read a poem by Dorothy Law entitled, "Children Learn What They Live." As I recall, it basically states that with children, you get out of them what you put into them, so if you show a child aggression, they will behave aggressively. However, if you show a child love and kindness, they will display it in return. What was true then is still true today. Children watch violence on television and mimic the aggressive behaviors seen towards other children. Modern video games are even worse and children spend many hours a day playing video games. They show extreme violence, including theft, murder, and rape, and children become desensitized by such actions to the point of some acting out such behaviors without remorse. I feel that Bandura's idea that attention, memory, ability, and motivation are necessary components of observational learning, and easily perceived and perpetrated by children of only 4 years of