Skinner's behaviorism and Bandura's cognitive social learning of personality

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The theory of personality


Skinner’s Behaviorism and Bandura’s Cognitive Social Learning of Personality

An Assignment Submitted in Partial Fulfilment

Of the Requirements for the Degree of

Bachelor of Social Sciences in


Apirl 2010

Skinner’s Behaviorism and Bandura’s Cognitive Social Learning of Personality

B. F. Skinner and Albert Bandura are the well-known psychologist. Skinner argued that behavior was caused by forces outside the person. Operant conditioning is the theory of B.F. Skinner and is defined as the type of learning in which behavior is strengthened if followed by reinforcement or diminished if followed by punishment. The theory of B.F. Skinner is based on the idea that learning is a function of change in overy behavior. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual’s response to events that occur in the environment. A response produces a outcome. Action on part of the learner is called a response. For an example, purcharsing behaviors is a response occurs in the presence of distinctive stimuli, as people want to buy the cheapest stuffs in supermarket’s environment. Supermaket often give us stamps which can be used in exchange for gifts. Stamps is a secondary reinforcer become reinforcing through the association with gift, a primary reinforcer. It encourages purcharsing behaviors through a system of rewards. When a desired stimulus-response pattern is reinforced, the individual conditioned to response in a certain way, and learning takes place. Bandura emphasizes how behavior is influenced by social and cognitive variables. He is the originator of observational learning. John and Janice (2001) define that “observation learning involves the learning of new behavior. When an observer sees a model do a behavior that the observer has never done, the observer may learn how to do the behavior merely by watching.” For an example, we queued up for the bus in Hong Kong as we observe other were queued up for the bus. People can learn a great deal activity by observing other. The operant conditioning focus on the frequency of behavior change by reinforcement or punishment, but the observational learning focus on subject act the new behavior by observing other.

The Bobo doll experiment was conducted by Bandura in 1961. Some children saw adult aggress on Bobo doll and some saw a neutral interaction between adult and the Bobo doll. The model’s aggressive behaviors were distinctive and the children have never seen before. Each child was observed alone. Under a model-punished condition, children reproduced less aggressive behavior. However, childen who were under a model-rewarded or no-consequences condition, reproduced similarly more aggressive behavior. The result implicated that learning occurred because of observation, not reward. From observing other behavior to get our expectations about its consequences. Bandura argues that most behavior is performed in the absence of external reinforcements and punishment. However, Skinner through Skinner box, observe the behavioral change of lower animals such as rats and pigeons. As these kind of animals are better control. The findings can be generalized to explain human behavior. Skinner found that our behavior cause consequences, some responses are strengthened while other are weakened. Reinforcement and punishment are consequence that produces an increase or decrease in certain behavior in the future. Reinforment can strengthen behavior in a given environment. Rewardeing stimulus increases responding is positive reinforcement. Professor gives positive comment to my assignment. Removal of negative stimulus in order to increase responding is negative reinforcement. Skinner’s recognition of individual differences, no particular consequence is always a reinforcer for different people. Extra ten precent bonus score for APA style may be a positive reinforcer to some student, they try hard to get extra marks. Some student, however, ignore the APA style to get extra marks, as the bonus score is not a positive reinforcer to them. Punishment can weaken behavior in a given environment. Presenting an aversive stimulus to decrease responding is positive punishment. Tutorial do not take your attendence if you late more than ten minute late, decrease the rate of coming late. Removal of pleasant stimulus reduces responding is negative punishment. Late penalty is introduced to assignment, ten marks lost for each late day. In order not to be penalty, I tend to hand in my assignment in time. Punishment, however, may be effective in reducing undesirable behavior in the short period.

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The major difference between Bandura’s theory and Skinner’s theory is Bandura’s emphasis on cognitive aspects of human personality. Bandura rejects the idea of people as large, complex rats. According to Bandura, the learning of consequence to personality is cognitive. The four basic processes of observational learning including attentional processes, retention processes, motor reproduction processes, and motivational processes. In attentional proesses, people select important aspects of the observed behavior to attend to, it mostly depends on the characteristics of the model and the characteristics of the observer himself. Afterthat, information is stored by mental representations and verbal coding in retention processes. ...

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