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Bandura's Social Learning Theory & Social Cognitive Learning Theory

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Bandura's Social Learning Theory & Social Cognitive Learning Theory

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Theories of Developmental Psychology
Title:
Bandura’s Social Learning Theory &
Social Cognitive Learning Theory
Razieh Tadayon Nabavi
2011-2012
2
Table of content
Father of the Cognitive Theory.................................................................................. 3
Introduction ................................................................................................................. 3
Social Learning Theory (SLT) ................................................................................... 5
General principles of SLT ...................................................................................................... 6
Behaviors learned through modeling ..................................................................................... 7
SLT Concepts ......................................................................................................................... 8
Observational Learning ...................................................................................................... 8
Intrinsic Reinforcement...................................................................................................... 9
Modeling Process ............................................................................................................... 9
SLT perspectives .................................................................................................................. 10
Social Cognitive Learning Theory (SCLT) ............................................................. 11
Basic Assumptions of SCLT ................................................................................................ 11
Cognitive Features on SCLT................................................................................................ 13
Phenomena of SCLT ............................................................................................................ 13
Internal principle of SCLT ................................................................................................... 14
Self-efficacy and SCLT ................................................................................................... 15
Self-regulation and SCLT ................................................................................................ 17
The Linking between SLT and SCLT ..................................................................... 18
Strengths and Weaknesses of SLT .......................................................................... 18
Strengths of SCLT .................................................................................................... 19
Limitations of SCLT ................................................................................................. 19
Conclusion.................................................................................................................. 20
References .................................................................................................................. 22
3
Father of the Cognitive Theory
Albert Bandura is known as the father of cognitive theory. He was born December 4,
1925 in a small town in northern Alberta, Canada, located approximately 50 miles from
Edmonton. Bandura’s early education consisted of one small school with only two
teachers. (Stokes, 1986). Albert Bandura soon became fascinated by psychology after
enrolling at the University of British Columbia. He had started out at biological sciences
major, his interest in psychology formed quite by accident. He was working nights and
commuting to school with a group of students who arrived much earlier than his other
courses started. ( Pajares, 2004).
In 1949 he graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in
Psychology. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Iowa
in 1952. After he finished his PhD because of his famous studies and searches Bandura
was elected as the president of the American Psychological Association in 1974. He was
also elected as the outstanding lifetime contribution to Psychology, American
Psychological Association in 2004. Among all scholars Bandura was known as the
father of the Cognitive Theory. (Bandura, 2006a).
Introduction
Based on previous studies, learning is defined as “A persisting change in human
performance or performance potential as a result of the learner’s interaction with the
environment” (Driscoll, 1994, pp. 8-9). Learning is also elucidated by Weinstein &
4
Mayer (1986) as “The relatively permanent change in a person’s knowledge or behavior
due to experience(p. 1040). On this point, Shuell (1986) clarified learning as “An
enduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which
results from practice or other forms of experience” ( p. 412).
Learning theories see the environment as the major force in development. (Hoffman,
1993). Scholars categorized learning theories as Behaviorism, Social Learning Theory
(SLT) and Social Cognitive Learning Theory (SCLT). In the context of study, Albert
Bandura is arguably the most eminent living psychologist. His Social Cognitive theory
has influenced many areas of inquiry: education, health sciences, social policy and
psychotherapy among others. (See figure 1)
SLT & SCLT are
based on
Observation
SLT
SCLT
via observation,
imitation, and
modeling
via observation
understanding,
predicting and
changing human
behavior.
Figure 1 Process of SLT and SCLT based on observation
5
Social Learning Theory (SLT)
Social learning theory is increasingly cited as an essential component of sustainable
natural resource management and the promotion of desirable behavioural change. (Muro
& Jeffrey 2008). This theory is based on the idea that we learn from our interactions
with others in a social context. Separately, by observing the behaviors of others, people
develop similar behaviors. After observing the behavior of others, people assimilate and
imitate that behavior, especially if their observational experiences are positive ones or
include rewards related to the observed behavior. According to Bandura, imitation
involves the actual reproduction of observed motor activities. (Bandura 1977).
SLT has become perhaps the most influential theory of learning and development. It is
rooted in many of the basic concepts of traditional learning theory. This theory has often
been called a bridge between behaviorist learning theories and cognitive learning
theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. (Muro & Jeffrey
2008). However, on this regards, Bandura believes that direct reinforcement could not
account for all types of learning. For that reason, in his theory he added a social element,
arguing that people can learn new information and behaviors by watching other people.
According to the elements of this theory there are three general principles for learning
from each other.
6
General principles of SLT
The principles of social learning are assumed to operate in the same way throughout life.
Observational learning may take place at any age. Insofar as exposure to new influential,
powerful models who control resources may occur at life stage, new learning through
the modeling process is always possible. (Newman B.M. & P.R, 2007).
SLT posits that people learn from one another, via:
Observation;
Imitation; and
Modeling
Based on these general principles, learning can occur without a change in behavior. In
other words, behaviorists say that learning has to be represented by a permanent change
in behavior; while in contrast social learning theorists say that because people can learn
through observation alone, their learning may not necessarily be shown in their
performance. (Bandura, 1965). Learning may or may not result in a behavior change.
(Bandura, 2006b).
Bandura demonstrated that cognition plays a role in learning and Over the last 30 years
social learning theory has become increasingly cognitive in its interpretation of human
learning; these points supported by (Newman B.M. & P.R, 2007).
7
Behaviors learned through modeling
The people who are being observed are called models and the process of learning is
called modeling. This point supported by (Newman B.M. & P.R, 2007). Bandura’s
stated second and third stages of social learning, imitation and behavior modeling, will
occur if a person observes positive, desired outcomes in the first stage. If, for example,
an instructor attends and observes a course in-world and is entertained, informed, and
approves of the way students act, they are more likely to want to teach a course in-world
themselves. They can then use the behavior they experienced to imitate and model other
instructors’ teaching styles in-world (Bandura, 1986)
Previous studies confirmed that at least partly of many behaviors can be learned through
modeling. Some examples that can be cited on this regards are, students can watch
parents read, students can watch the demonstrations of mathematics problems, or seen
someone acting bravely and a fearful situation (Bandura, 2006a). Based on this point,
aggression can also be learned through models. Much research indicates that children
become more aggressive when they observed aggressive or violent models. From this
view, moral thinking and moral behavior are influenced by observation and modeling. In
consequence, learing includes moral judgments regarding right and wrong which can in
part, develop through modeling.
8
SLT Concepts
Based on the literature, there are three concepts in SLT. Firstly, people can learn through
observation which is known as observational learning. Secondly, mental states are
important factor for learning it is also named as intrinsic reinforcement. Finally, it refers
to this point that learning does not necessarily lead to a change in behavior and it follows
by modeling process.
Observational Learning
In 1961 Bandura conducted his famous experiment known as the Bobo doll experiment,
to study patterns of behavior, at least in part, by social learning theory, and that similar
behaviors were learned by individuals shaping their own behavior after the actions of
models. Bandura's results from the Bobo Doll Experiment changed the course of modern
psychology, and were widely credited for helping shift the focus in academic
psychology from pure behaviorism to cognitive. The experiment is among the most
lauded and celebrated of psychological experiments. (Newman B.M. & P.R, 2007). The
study was significant because it departed from behaviorism’s insistence that all behavior
is directed by reinforcement or rewards. The children received no encouragement or
incentives to beat up the doll; they were simply imitating the behavior they had
observed. Bandura termed this phenomena observational learning and characterized the
elements of effective observational learning as attention, retention, reciprocation and
motivation. He demonstrated that children learn and imitate behaviors which they have
observed in other people. On this process, he identified three basic models of
observational learning:
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A live model, which involves an actual individual demonstrating or acting out a
behavior.
A verbal instructional model, which involves descriptions and explanations of
a behavior.
A symbolic model, which involves real or fictional characters displaying
behaviors in books, films, television programs, or online media.
Intrinsic Reinforcement
One of the other formats of learning is described as a form of internal reward, such as
pride, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment. Based on some researchers such as
Muro and Jeffrey (2008) which supported Bandura’s SLT concepts this kind of learning
also emphasis on internal thoughts and cognitions and it can help connect learning
theories to cognitive developmental theories. On this regards, Bandura (1986), criticized
this process and believed that external, environmental reinforcement is not the only
factor to influence learning and behavior.
Modeling Process
Bandura mentions four necessary conditions which are needed in modeling process. By
considering these steps, an individual can successfully make the behavior model of
someone else. These conditions are shown in figure 2 briefly.
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1. Attention
The person must first pay attention to
the model. The more striking or
different something is the more likely
it is to gain our attention. Likewise, if
we regard something as prestigious,
attractive or like ourselves, we will
take more notice. (eg. Color)
4. Motivation
The final necessary ingredient for
modeling to occur is motivation,
learners must want to
demonstrate what they have learned.
Remember that since these four
conditions vary among individuals,
different people will reproduce the
same behavior differently.
Reinforcement and punishment play
an important role in motivation.
2. Retention
The observer must be able
to remember the behavior that has
been observed. One way of
increasing this is using the technique
of rehearsal.
3. Reproduction
The third condition is the ability to
replicate the behavior that the model
has just demonstrated. This means that
the observer has to be able to replicate
the action, which could be a problem
with a learner who is not ready
developmentally to replicate the
action.
Modeling
Process
Figure 2 conditions which are needed in modeling process
SLT perspectives
From the SLT view, the perspectives of reinforcement and punishment (R&P) can be
categorized as follow:
Indirect effects on learning and they are not the sole or main cause;
Influence the extent to which an individual exhibits a behavior that has been
learned;
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Influences expectation of reinforcement on cognitive processes that promote
learning;
Attention pays a critical role in learning and;
Attention is influenced by the expectation of reinforcement.
Social Cognitive Learning Theory (SCLT)
Based on the above discussion SCLT is a learning theory which has come out on the
ideas that people learn by watching what others do, and that human thought processes
are central to understanding personality. By the mid-1980s, Bandura's research had taken
a more holistic bent, and his analyses tended towards giving a more comprehensive
overview of human cognition in the context of social learning. The theory he expanded
from social learning theory soon became known as social cognitive theory. (Bandura,
1999). This theory provides a framework for understanding, predicting and changing
human behavior. (Green & Peil, 2009).
Moreover, SCLT places a heavy focus on cognitive concepts. It is also focused on how
children and adults operate cognitively on their social experiences and how these
cognitions then influence behavior and development.
Basic Assumptions of SCLT
Bandura (2006a) often objects to being associated with American behaviorists primarily
because he views his theory as “cognitive” and not “behaviorist.” That objection
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notwithstanding, his emphasis on the social origins of cognitive processes is why his
work falls within the exogenous paradigm of developmental theories. In short, he argues
that individuals learn both behaviors and cognitive strategies by observing the behavior
of others, and these acquisitions can be learned without being directly reinforced. (Green
& Peil, 2009).
Mccormick and Martinko (2004), based on their studies introduce some basic
assumptions of Bandura’s SCLT. They claimed that:
People can learn by observing others;
Learning is an internal process that may or may not result in a behavior change;
Learning can occur without a change in behavior (Observation without
imitation);
Regarding to behavior, some other researchers such as Betz, (2007), supported
Bandura’s basic assumptions of SCLT and pointed that:
Behavior is directed toward particular goals;
Behavior eventually becomes self-regulated;
Cognition plays a role in learning; and
Finally, some studies supported that reinforcement and punishment have indirect rather
than direct effects on learning and behavior. (Green & Peil, 2009).
13
Cognitive Features on SCLT
Researchers according to their studies presented the following five cognitive features
that can influence behavior in SCLT:
Expectations of future consequences & responses based on current situation/s;
Vicarious experiences of others’ consequences;
Expectations about future consequences affect how we cognitively process of
new information;
Expectations affect decisions about how to behavior; and
Nonoccurrence of expected consequences have effects
Phenomena of SCLT
Social cognitive theory attempts to explain socialization broadly, including processes
whereby individuals acquire their society’s norms of thought and action. Within this
broad agenda, Bandura attempts to explain four types of learning effects. (Green & Peil,
2009).
The four features for phenomena on SCLT are as follow:
1. Observational Learning Effect
Acquiring new behavior from model
2. Response Facilitation Effect
According to the literature increased frequency of learned behavior after model is
reinforced for same behavior.
3. Response Inhibition Effect;
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Decreased frequency of learned behavior after observing punished model.
4. Response disinhibition Effect
Return of inhibited response after observing model behave that adverse
consequences.
Internal principle of SCLT
People are only partial products of their environments. Just as important is the fact that
we create beneficial environments and then proceed to exercise control over them. By
selecting environments carefully, we can influence what we become. Our choices are
influenced by our beliefs as well as our capabilities (Bandura, 1997). Bandura proposes
only a single internal principle comprised of three interacting elements. This principle is
termed triadic reciprocality. Some scholars in the area of SCLT like Betz, 2007, and
Green & Peil, 2009 supported Bandura view of triadic reciprocality and define human
behavior as a triadic, dynamic, and reciprocal interaction of personal factors, behavior,
and the environment. On a closer observation, these three fundamentals work in a
reciprocal nature. Figure 3 shows these principles more clearly.
15
Figure 3 Internal principle of SCLT
Self-efficacy and SCLT
self-efficacy in the Bandura theory introduced context of an explanatory model of
human behavior, in which self-efficacy causally influences expected outcomes of
behavior, but not vice versa (Bandura, 1986c, 1995, 1998, 2004, 2006b).
Self-efficacy beliefs exert their diverse effects through cognitive, motivational,
emotional, and decisional processes. Efficacy beliefs affect whether individuals think
optimistically or pessimistically, in self-enhancing or self-debilitating ways. They play a
central role in the self-regulation of motivation through goal challenges and outcome
expectations. (Mark & Campbell, 2011). On this regard self efficacy lies at the center of
SCLT and shows that beliefs about one’s ability or capacity to execute a behavior
16
successfully. Moreover, it clarifies that people tend to engage in activities based on their
sense of competence &/or past success.
One of the primary features of Bandura’s model is the specification of four sources of
efficacy information, or learning experiences, leading to the development of self-
efficacy expectations. It remains important as it is part of Bandura’s social cognitive
theory and is an integral part of SCCT. Betz (2007). In other words, some researchers
like Betz (2007) and Mccormick, & Martinko, (2004), supported self-efficacy based on
bandura’s idea and suggested that self efficacy can affect on behavior & cognition in the
following ways:
Activity choice
Goal setting
Effort & persistence
Learning & achievement
They concluded that people with high efficacy are more likely to view difficult tasks as
something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided while the people with
weak efficacy more likely to avoid challenging tasks and finally they focus on personal
failings and negative outcomes. (Mark & Campbell, 2011).
17
Self-regulation and SCLT
Central to SCT is the idea that people are capable of self-regulation their thoughts,
emotions, motivation, and actions. Self-regulation refers to the process in which people
control and direct their actions. It conceives of the individual as being goal directed and
actively involved in developing functional patterns of thinking and behaving in response
to environmental conditions in order to attain personal goals. Effective self-regulation is
a cyclical process in which performers actively monitor the performance environment,
develop functional task strategies, skillfully implements those plans, and monitor the
results. ( Locke & Latham, 1990).
Self-regulation has come to be more emphasized in SLT however in SCLT self-
regulation is considered when an individual has his own ideas about what
is appropriate or inappropriate behavior and chooses actions accordingly (Williams
2010).
Bandura (1978) in his theory presented promoting self-regulation as an important
technique. He believes it is usually done by teaching the individual to reward
himself after doing the needed behavior. Figure 4 shows the process and stages of self
regulation.
18
Figure 4 the process and stages of self regulation
The Linking between SLT and SCLT
In 1986, Bandura based on his studies and findings decided to rename his SLT to Social
Cognitive Learning Theory (SCLT). In other words, the Social Cognitive learning
Theory (SCLT) stemmed for a better description from the SLT which had been
advocating since1960's.
Strengths and Weaknesses of SLT
Based on previous studies, strengths and weakness of SLT can be broken down into two
categories. The first one is positive reinforcement and it means the action mimicked by
the observer is a positive one, therefore the action may be reward able or commended by
19
others. The second one is punishment and it uses when the action mimicked by the
observer is negative and may offend or harm others, thereby leading to a form of
punishment. Basically, according to the literature the main strength & weakness of
Social/Observational learning depends on the model.
According to this point, if the model is producing a behavior that is appropriate,
responsible and positive overall, the observer will mimic that positive good behavior.
So, as future educators, we need to be constantly aware of how we present ourselves and
of our actions. Finally, it can be said if we believe Bandura's theory is correct, that
means the things we do are under constant watch by others.
Strengths of SCLT
Based on the literature, some strengths for SCLT can be listed as follow:
Accumulated an impressive research record
Concerned with important human social behaviors
An evolving theory that is open to change
Focused on important theoretical issues, e.g., role of reward in learning, the
stability of behavior
Reasonable view of people and concern with the social implications of the theory
Limitations of SCLT
Some researchers based on their findings reported some limitations for SCLT however
some believes the theory's comprehensiveness and complexity make it difficult to
20
operation allies; many applications of the SCLT focus on one or two constructs, such as
self-efficacy, while ignoring the others.
1. Not a fully systematized, unified theory; loosely organized
2. Controversial issues:
Is reinforcement necessary for both learning and performance?
Is self-efficacy just another outcome expectancy?
Why are some self-efficacy expectancies stable and others susceptible to rapid
change?
If self-efficacy expectancies are situation specific, how do they relate to broader
personality?
Why are some self-efficacy beliefs apparently unrelated to behavior, e.g., stop
smoking?
Relies on self-reports excessively
3. Neglected areas:
Maturation and changes over the lifespan ignored
Minimal attention to motivation, conflict, and emotion
4. Findings are preliminary
Are cognitive processes the basic concepts of personality?
Are modeling and guided participation able to handle many psychological
problems?
Conclusion
The SLT and SCLT theories have often been called a bridge between behaviorist
learning theories and cognitive learning theories because they encompass attention,
memory, and motivation. It is also placed a heavy focus on cognitive concepts.
Moreover, Albert Bandura is arguably the most eminent living psychologist. His Social
Cognitive theory has influenced many areas of inquiry: education, health sciences, social
policy and psychotherapy among others. On a closer observation, however, social
cognitive theory has its roots in American behaviorism, but Bandura extends radical
21
behaviorism to include cognitive factors in his account of social learning. Finally, as
Green & Peil, in 2009, reported he has tried to use cognitive theory to solve a number of
global problems such as environmental conservation, poverty, soaring population growth
and etc.
22
References
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Bandura, A. (1978). Reflections on self-efficacy. Advances in behaviour research and
therapy, 1(4), 237-269.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
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Bandura, A. (1995). ON rectifying conceptual ecumenism. In J. E. Maddux (Ed), Self-
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Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman.
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... It is vital that learners are taught about EE at the school, and informed of how their behaviour impact on the environment to minimise and prevent environmental problems from occurring that are created by human hazardous behaviour. Nabavi (2012) states that SLT promotes learning developments. Jeffrey (2008) further states that, SLT has been long cited as a vital tool for sustainability and to promote behavioural change. ...
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... H6 (Observation of society → negotiation) and H7 (Observation of society → intention) show significant and positive correlations between the constructs. This is consistent with the theoretical research indicating that SLT influences decision-making (Nabavi, 2012). ...
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