Albert Bandura: Observational Learning

Albert Bandura, born December 4, 1925 (Bandura 2013), is a very well known theorists in the world of psychology. A professor at Stanford University for much of his career, from 1953 until 2010, he has been recognized many times in this field (Bandura). His awards include, but are not limited to: the Lifetime Achievement award from the American Psychological Association, the James McKeen Cattell Award, the Grawemeyer Award and a Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Psychological Association (Olson, & Hergenhahn, 2012). He was also honored with the presidency of the American Psychological Association in 1973 (Olson, & Hergenhahn). Throughout his career he published six books, including Social Learning and Personality Development, and Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory, and was editor of three additional works which centered around self-efficacy and modeling (Bandura). Though some of his theories have been criticized, they have had a huge impact on our understanding of learning and completely changed the way people looked at learning during his time.
One of the criticisms about Bandura’s theories is that it is too broad and covers too many topics (Olson, & Hergenhahn, 2012). Most learning theories before Bandura had a more narrow scope and tried to focus in on a single aspect of learning or of the environment, but Bandura focused on memory, personality, language, media influence and more (Olson, & Hergenhahn), all of which can influence a person’s ability to learn and how well they learn something. The biggest criticism against Bandura was about his contribution of the concept of reciprocal determinism. Reciprocal determinism is the idea that “the person, the environment, and the person’s b...

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... the current century that children learn from what they see and repeat the behaviors and words that they observe those in their environment doing, Bandura was the first to show that learning occurred even if imitation did not occur and that learning was not dependent on reinforcement like many earlier theorists, such as Miller and Dollard, believed (Olson, & Hergenhahn). He was the first to study observational learning and place importance on its implications as some theoritsts, such as Thorndike, Watson, and Piaget, completely ignored or disregarded observational learning (Olson, & Hergenhahn).

Works Cited

Bandura, Albert. (2013). In Marquis Who's Who in America. Retrieved from Olson, M. H., & Hergenhahn, B.R. (2012). An introduction to the theories of learning (9th ed.)
(pp. 312-340). USA: Pearson
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