2.1 Self-efficacy and social cognitive theory
2.1.1Social cognitive theory
This part will firstly present something about social cognitive theory because it is the more general framework behind the self-efficacy theory. Social cognitive theory is a view of human functioning focusing on human agency (Bandura, 2001) and a way to understand “human cognition, action, motivation, and emotion that assumes that people are capable of self-reflection and self-regulation.” (Maddux, 1995, p. 4)
The roots of social cognitive theory were set by Holt and Brown in 1931, then Miller and Dollard proposed the revision of the previous study and presented a theory of social learning and imitation in 1941 (Social cognitive theory, 2015). The Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura made further proposition and improvement in this area in the following decades. With a series of studies, Bandura brought up self-efficacy in 1977 and with the publication of his second book, Bandura expanded and renamed the original theory as Social cognitive theory (Pajares, 2002, social cognitive theory, 2015).
There are some specific assumptions in social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986, 1989), for example, people are self-reflective and they can analyze and evaluate their thoughts and experiences, thus, they have the self-control over their thought and behaviour. Moreover, the assumptions also include people’s symbolizing capabilities, goal-directed behaviour guided by fore-thought, various learning by observation and so on. Amon...
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...self-efficacy beliefs works better in predicting people’s attainments than by their previous experiences and knowledge.
As several studies reveal (Collins, 1982, Bandura, 1992), self-efficacy beliefs make contributions to performance not only directly but also by influencing intentions. The perceived self-efficacy is concerned not with the measurement of the skills one has, but with what one believes he/she can do under different circumstances with whatever skills one has (Bandura, 1992, p.37). It is true that people who strongly believe in their capabilities can tackle demanding tasks as challenges while people lacking self-efficacy will have difficult to achieve certain goals because the skills can be easily overridden by self-doubts. In brief, people with high self-efficacy will have more strong faith and will be rather persistent when facing difficult situations.
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