Critical Analysis Of Bandura's Social Cognitive Learning Theory

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1. Summary of Issue I gravitated toward Bandura as my theorist for this theory commentary because I was familiar with some of his work from my undergraduate psychology classes. Bandura’s social cognitive learning studies focused heavily on how children learn and then reproduce observed behaviors. While re-reading the section on this, I kept playing in my mind the video I have seen over and over again – children watching an adult either beat up or ignore a doll, and then afterward the children being placed in the room with the doll but without the adult. It made me wonder what would happen to a child who witnessed behavior similar to the adult punching the doll on a daily basis. According to the text, children imitate those who they look up…show more content…
In fact, most behavioral theories have little or nothing to do with the macro level, even though influences come from outside of the person. Instead they focus on the meso level, which includes the small unit of a family. The theory itself is primarily applied to individuals, but at the meso level, in our case the family of the young girl, factors providing positive or negative reinforcement are presented. In the case of the young girl using Bandura’s theory, she sees the joy her mother gets after beating on her father as a positive reinforcement at the meso level. She individually (micro) did not come up with that behavior, and overall society (macro) did not present the behavior to her, but instead her mother (meso) unintentionally did. It is important to note that the mother is not purposefully teaching her daughter to beat up men for enjoyment, but her daughter values the result her mother experiences afterward and has decided to model that behavior. The meso level presents the girl with the imitative behavior, the decision to deem the behavior inhibitory or disinhibitory, and the ability to individually practice the behavior so that it can become a previously acquired…show more content…
Specifically mentioned in the book is how negative reinforcement is an unethical practice for a social worker to engage in with their client or clients when using this theory. Instead, the social worker should encourage self-reinforcement and empowerment, which can line up with the social work ethic of dignity and worth of a person. It is important to guide the client in the right direction, but it is wrong to be coaching them every step of the way and not allow them to have some personal say in their journey. Throughout the study of behavior, it is obvious that we gain understanding of our clients. This helps with getting to know them and providing them with more personalized, and hopefully successful, services. By getting to know the reason the mother beats on the dad in our example, we would be able to help her redirect her energies elsewhere, and in turn change the social cognitive learning model the young girl is exposed to into a positive
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