• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Social Learning Theory

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Social Learning Theory Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, psychologists tended to believe that the explanations offered by classical and operant conditioning were fully adequate to understand human behaviour. Classical conditioning is a form of learning in which a conditioned and unconditioned stimulus become associated, such that the former comes to elicit a response previously elicited only by the latter. It is also known as the Pavlovian or respondent conditioning. Operant conditioning is a form of learning in which voluntary behaviour becomes more or less likely to be repeated depending on its consequences. It is also known as Skinnerian or instrumental conditioning. However, it is now believed that there are many other factors involved in human behaviour, such as cognitive factors, especially observational learning/modeling, and as most of these are based around experience, they are often grouped loosely together under the umbrella term of the social learning mechanisms. Dollard and Miller (1950) stated that, in humans, most learning is social and acquired through observing other people in social situations. Their Social Learning Theory, whilst having its roots in Skinnerian principles, aims to offer a more complex theory of learning in humans within a social context. ...read more.

Middle

We also develop a theory of mind, which we use to interpret other people's behavior, which is a fundamental aspect of human interaction. It is an important learning mechanism as we learn to adjust our behavior to the accepted norms and values of society. It also forms an important basis for the social mechanisms involved in conformity and obedience to social norms. In a series of studies throughout the 1960's and 1970's, Bandura et al, illustrated how influential observational learning can be in relation to the acquisition of social rules by children. The main focus of Bandura's work was around a Bobo doll, a large inflatable rubber figure. Children would be split into two groups, one group would observe a model playing with such a doll in an aggressive manner and the other would observe the model playing with it in a placid manner with the doll. The children would then be allowed to play with a Bobo doll themselves. The children's level of aggression towards the doll were recorded and it was found that children who had observed the model acting in an aggressive manner towards the doll would explicit this type of behaviour towards the doll more frequently than children who had observed the model playing placidly with the Bobo doll. ...read more.

Conclusion

The complexity of social learning also implies that children need to have appropriate models to learn from, and appropriate social expectations around them, if they are not to find themselves later in opposition to their society. In 1974, Bronfenbrenner conducted observational studies of child rearing practices in Russia and the United States of America, and argued that because, at the time, Russia was very much more efficient in transmitting expected social norms and ideas to it's children than America, the children were much less likely to progress to the adult world alienated and disaffected from their society, than children in America. He argued that the social expectations and mechanisms which encourage us to feel part of a society and to share in that societies goals, and the systematic approach to the way in which children are socialized, are likely to be beneficial, both to the individual and to the society. In conclusion, it is possible to see that the basic structures involved in the learning process of human development, are considerably more complex than early psychologists such as Pavlov and Skinner (the founders of Classical and Operant conditioning) first thought. Children acquire their knowledge, understanding and skills through a varied means of social processes, all of which help them to learn the appropriate level of behaviour for their society. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

3* Knowledge and understanding are reasonably detailed and accurate.

Marked by teacher Stephanie Duckworth 10/09/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk explores the theme of masculinity through clever characterisation, exploration ...

    4 star(s)

    I agree with Palahniuk's belief that people create a view of God based on their own experiences and therefore if someone grows up in an unloving environment they will have difficulty believing in a loving God. The idea of non-conformity in Project Mayhem is ironic because the men are no

  2. Marked by a teacher

    What is atypical behaviour?

    3 star(s)

    Nothing happened to homosexuality after this time, but what changed were societies attitude towards it, which then reflected in its official psychiatric status. (Gross 1992) Behaviour may be considered normal or abnormal depending on the situation or context. Taking off your clothes to get in to the bath is fine;

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "Describe the main features of conformity and obedience analyse two conformity and obedience studies ...

    a chair to prevent movement and an electrode is placed on his arm. Next, the "teacher" is taken to an adjoining room which contains a generator. The "teacher" is instructed to read a list of two word pairs and ask the "learner" to read them back.

  2. How well does the classic theory of deindividuation explain the behaviour of people in ...

    was based on the input of anonymity within a group being a cause for deindividuation.

  1. The Concepts Of Conformity And Obedience

    The three people probably didn't even consider themselves to be a group. Also, there was no right or wrong answer, Asch criticised the way it was an ambiguous task, Sherif told them that he was going to move the light, so they were more likely to change their minds anyway.

  2. Controversial issues in psychology.

    The purpose was to put the latter into special schools where they would receive more individual attention. In this way the disruption they caused in the education of intellectually normal children could be avoided. This led to the development of the Binet-Simon Scale, and constituted a revolutionary approach to the assessment of individual mental ability.

  1. Obedience & Conformity: The Situation In Abu Ghraib

    Another factor that influences conformity is cultural differences, researches have found that people from a collectivist cultures are more likely to conform. The guards that were based in Abu Ghraib were all going through a culture shock and felt out of place.

  2. Outline and evaluate one theory of the formation of romantic relationships. (4+8 marks)

    Due to this the results will be representative because people of all cultures and ages wouldn?t have replied to the ad. Furthermore, they used self report methods which is prone to demand characteristics and social desirability bias, as volunteers will try to represent themselves as well as possible as well

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work