Psychology: Psychology and Dad Reinforces Sarah Essay

Submitted By Muslimah786
Words: 323
Pages: 2

Social learning theory regards gender identity and role as a set of behaviours that are learned from the environment. The main way that gender behaviours are learned is through the process of observational learning. Children observe the people around them behaving in various ways, some of which relate to gender. They pay attention to some of these people (models) and encode their behaviour. At a later time they may imitate the behaviour they have observed. They may do this regardless of whether the behaviour is ‘gender appropriate’ or not but there are a number of processes that make it more likely that a child will reproduce the behaviour that its society deems appropriate for its sex.
First, the child is more likely to attend to and imitate those people it perceives as similar to itself.
Consequently, it is more likely to imitate behaviour modeled by people the same sex as it is.
Second, the people around the child will respond to the behaviour it imitates with either reinforcement or punishment. It is likely that the child will be reinforced for acting in gender appropriate ways and punished or ignored for gender inappropriate behaviour. Third, the child will also have observed the consequences of other people’s behaviour and will be motivated to imitate the behaviour it has seen reinforced and avoid imitating the behaviour it has seen punished
(vicarious reinforcement and punishment).
For example, imagine three siblings, James (4