Essay On Bandura's Social Learning Theory

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Gender refers to an individual's anatomical sex, or sexual assignment, and the cultural and social aspects of being male or female. An individual's personal sense of maleness or femaleness is his or her gender identity. Outward expression of gender identity, according to cultural and social expectations, is a gender role. Either gender may live out a gender but not a sex role, which is anatomically limited to one gender. Gender identity appears to form very early in life and is most likely irreversible by age four. Although the exact cause of gender identity remains unknown, biological, psychological, and social variables clearly influence the process. Genetics, prenatal and postnatal hormones, differences in the brain and the…show more content…
One major theory was the one put forward by Bandura and his social learning theory. Bandura's social learning theory states that gender is learnt through direct and indirect reinforcement. The direct reinforcement is influenced by parents and according to the social learning theory gender identity is also reinforced through the beliefs and attitudes that the parents implement within their children through gender stereotypical behavior. However, gender roles can also be learnt through observation and modeling of behavior. Although Bandura did devise a theory into the explanation of development of gender identity, he did not however test this theory in order to obtain empirical evidence in relation to his hypothesis. Needless to say he did form a solid basis for other psychologists, so they could undergo experiments on the grounds of his…show more content…
It emphasizes the roles of observational learning and reinforcement (Bandura, 1997) and attempts to explain how social structures, raised by psychoanalytic feminism, influences gender identity formation. In the 'Baby X' study (Smith & Lloyd, 1978), babies were dressed in unisex outfits and given names which, at times matched their correct sex and at other times didn't. When adults played with them, they treated the babies according to the sex they believed them to be. This indicates that a person's (perceived) biological make-up becomes part of his/her social environment through others'

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