Social Learning Theory

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Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory describes the process through which people acquire new info, forms of behavior, or attitudes from others firsthand or vicariously. The likelihood of a behavior presenting itself will rely on the amount of reinforcement it receives and the value that the individual associates to it. While some behavior may be rewarded, others may produce unfavorable responses. An individual will learn from the consequences of these actions and when a similar situation arises, they will alter their behavior according to what was most successful in the past.

Through the Social Learning Theory, one can absorb new behaviors from others or one can form attitudes toward something that can in turn influence behavior. The attitudes we acquire may sometimes be implicit or explicit and depending on the strength of these attitudes and environmental factors, behaviors may come about. If implicit attitudes are strong and an opposing explicit is weak, the behavior will portray the implicit attitude unconsciously.

Prejudicial attitudes, in the implicit or explicit form, can be played out through discriminatory behaviors, or negative behaviors directed toward members of a different social group. By observing or listening to those around them, especially those who they relate to, people can attain attitudes or behaviors towards other individuals or groups who they have never even associated with.

Besides discriminatory behaviors, the Social Learning Theory can also influence aggressive behaviors. Although aggression can be learned at any age, children tend to be susceptible to socially learn aggressive behaviors from physically abusive parents, their community, video games, etc. Furthermore, the new aggressors could...

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...ial behaviors, the social learning theory also incorporates other topics learned in class. Observational Learning and Instrumental Conditioning are two topics that are a part of how social learning takes place. Observational learning is learning from others through observation, while Instrumental Conditioning deals with the learning of a behavior through rewards and punishments.

Moreover, the Social Learning Theory serves as the foundation of the General Aggression Model, a theory that explains how many factors, through a chain of events, attribute to aggressive behaviors. The factors that make up the chain of events consist of two input variables (factors relating to current situation and factors relating to those involved), the current internal state of the aggressor, an assessment of the situation, and then a thoughtful action or an aggressive act occurs.
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